The Globe and Mail
Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, carried an article today by one of our nation's most esteemed writers, Roy MacGregor. Here's what he had to say about my nephew, Mike Fisher:
MacGregor: ‘I like to think I give everything I have,' Fisher says
From Monday's Globe and Mail
June 3, 2007 at 9:31 PM EDT
OTTAWA — When you sit in your special place and let your mind seek to come to terms with the world, it is supposed to be you doing the chanting – not them.
And certainly not 20,500 of them.
But that is exactly where and how Mike Fisher found his necessary focus for Saturday night's third game of the Stanley Cup final.
He was sitting in his stall, as tight to the ice surface as it is possible to get in the Ottawa Senators' dressing room, when he heard the crowd coming through.
Before the puck had been dropped, before the anthems had even been sung, they had filled Scotiabank Place and were stomping their feet and clapping their hands and chanting “Go, Sens, go … Go, Sens, go … Go, Sens, go …”
“It was amazing,” Fisher said. “It was as if the whole country – a lot of the country – is behind you.
“We fed off the crowd.”
And the crowd – as loud and proud as any Senators crowd in the club's 15-year history – fed off the team. First, when the Senators, suddenly plucky, came from behind three times to tie this critical game, then when the Senators went ahead by one goal late in the second period, by two early in the third, and again when the final buzzer went off to announce the Ottawa Senators, presumed dead, were suddenly very much alive.
They cheered Mike Fisher when he scored the second tying goal by tipping in an Anton Volchenkov shot from the point after Fisher had done something rare among the Senators: win an offensive zone faceoff against the Anaheim Ducks.
But they cheered louder still when Mike Fisher – proud practising Christian, once nominated as his junior league's “most gentlemanly player” – decided he had had enough with his team being manhandled by the far more aggressive Ducks, dropped his gloves and quickly took Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf to the ice.
The morning after, he stood by this same stall and seemed somewhat embarrassed by the swollen, red knuckles of his left hand.
Perhaps it was that, or perhaps it was that someone had just told him that Ottawa coach Bryan Murray considered Fisher to have been Ottawa's best player over these first three games of a final series that must go at least two more, including tonight's fourth game in Ottawa.
“We know Mike is a hardworking, real determined type of guy with lots of character,” is what Murray was saying yesterday. “His skating allows him to do an awful lot for us. Probably if you rate him over the three games, he was probably the best to this point.”
It was not a tight contest. The three stars on Ottawa's big line – Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley – had all sputtered badly in the final, with Alfredsson finally finding the net on Saturday night with his foot rather than his suddenly cold stick.
“I think he's been probably our best forward in this series,” Alfredsson said. “He thrives on this kind of game – physical, fast-paced – and he's so strong, he's so quick, and I think the biggest thing is he has so much energy, he can go back, shift after shift, and play the way he does.”
“It's important for everybody to pitch in,” said Fisher, who will turn 27 tomorrow. “I know what I have to do.”
What he does is play with such speed and abandon that injuries have been a major factor in his six seasons in the National Hockey League. The list is long – knee, shoulders, hip flexors and elbow – and makes his past two seasons of 22 goals each even more impressive, as he is generally regarded as a defensive forward.
“I like to think I give everything I have,” he said. “I never thought I would come into the league and be a superstar. I wanted to be a good two-way player.”
He is, and one of the best, if not the best, in this year's playoffs.
“We all shake our heads at some of the hits he delivers,” Alfredsson said.
In Alfredsson's opinion, Fisher can do it all: hit, skate, check, score and lead by example.
“It's pretty impressive.”
But it is not only on the ice that Fisher has been impressive this spring. Even in the turmoil of the frantic playoffs, Fisher kept up his contact with little Elgin Fraser, the three-year-old Senators fan who died of cancer only hours after his favourite team and player made it past Buffalo to the Stanley Cup final.
Fisher had taken the young fan to Senators practices, had gone to his house to play in the final two days of Elgin's life and served as a pallbearer, along with teammate Chris Phillips, another Elgin favourite, after the little boy's death.
According to Elgin's father, Fisher made the little boy a promise that the Senators would win the Stanley Cup.
They might not, of course, but now, thanks in no small part to Mike Fisher, they still have a chance.
And no one will ever be able to say it was for lack of trying.