Tales from the PredsMobile: Something’s Fishy in the Air
By Miranda Martin
On Wednesday morning, I awoke to several texts by friends saying the Preds had a huge announcement at 11:30, with speculations stirring of what it’d. Being the grouchy morning person that I am (and why I’m never on air for Predneck Nation), nothing would really get me awake.
But this announcement surely woke me up.
The Nashville Predators announced on Wednesday that former captain Mike Fisher was officially coming out of his short-lived retirement to make one more push with the Preds in the final half of the year and postseason. In the press conference, General Manager David Poile assured us that the leadership group established at the beginning of the season would not be affected, and the team had been discussing this matter since December. Fisher, being the loving purse-carrier that he is, said his wife (and our fave anthem singer) Carrie Underwood, encouraged him to return and “she’s usually right.”
Most fans were elated about the news, opening their arms to welcome back one of their favorite players (and anthem singers) back into the fold. But a lot of fans think the move is… well, fishy.
The first encounter I had with a Preds fan yesterday was prepping to drive at the gas station. It started as the usual “big fan, eh?” when they see the Preds swag on my car. Afterwards, the older gentleman commented on their play vs Chicago, but he hadn’t heard the hour-old news that Fisher was returning.
“I don’t like that,” he said, shaking his head. “If you’re gonna retire, then retire for Pete’s sake!”
Even Mike Fisher recognized that sentiment in his presser—you don’t usually like hearing guys coming out of retirement. The rest of the night driving, I talked about it with a handful of passengers and fans. It was genuinely split down the middle in responses: some people really love that he’s returning and see it as a positive acquisition; others think it’s a really bad move that makes the team look unsure and desperate.
As for me personally, I’m trying to wait and see while still being skeptical. It was clear that Fisher was injured and tired for a majority of the playoff series last year, only producing 4 points in the postseason. However, his leadership is invaluable, especially to a group of young up-and-coming players. It would make sense that he retire right after the run, mainly because just 90 days off wouldn’t be enough to recover from such a lengthy season, especially for a 17-year vet. Let’s see what happens when he has nearly eight months off.
If he barrels in like a bat out of hell for the remaining regular season and postseason, helping us to another deep run, then fantastic. If his leadership helps push some of the younger guys to produce more (especially players like Ryan Johansen, who have struggled to see the net this year), then it’s a valuable acquisition. It also depends on how much money he’s getting for the partial season, and if GMDP will contribute anything else at the trade deadline. But if the Preds fall short this year, I fear this is where people will turn this into the dreaded “what if” moment.
There’s one thing we can all agree on: most of us we’re hoping for an outdoor game announcement. It’s something Preds fans covet, and with the thousands that overflowed into the streets for the Stanley Cup Finals, we definitely should be in consideration. Out of town hockey fans love Nashville, no matter the weather, and the Preds are the Sweethearts of the Rodeo right now. If Nissan Stadium can’t accommodate, surely the new MLS stadium will. The hype and excitement for Predators hockey has to continue, both locally and internationally.
And if Fish’s Return means another deep run, it will help to one day get that big outdoor game announcement, too. If not, the Preds can organize an outdoor alumni game themselves in the years to come (maybe at First Tennessee Park?), and we’ll get to see Mike Fisher play yet again.