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||Losing the Stanley Cup last June wasn’t what hurt Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg the most. Seeing how painful the loss was for veteran center Mike Fisher proved even more agonizing.
”That was probably the worst feeling for me personally Zdeno Chara Jersey ,” Forsberg said. ”Seeing the look on Fish’s face, how close it was and obviously didn’t know then if he had another chance. And yeah, he’s definitely one of the guys that I would love to win for.”
One final shot at the Stanley Cup that’s eluded Fisher throughout his 17-year career wasn’t the priority last August when the 37-year-old center announced his retirement . The Predators, who always wanted him back, persuaded him to return late in the season with some help from Fisher’s wife, country star Carrie Underwood.
Fisher says the support means a lot to him.
”It also means you’re getting old too,” Fisher quipped.
”You don’t have too many chances. But part of this coming back too wasn’t just about me, it was about the guys too and you figure try to help a group and do it together,” Fisher said. ”That’s the thing about team sports and hockey is just having that fun together. There’s nothing like it. So it’s definitely more than just about me the old guy winning. It’s so much greater than that for sure.”
Nashville wanted Fisher back for his skills on the ice and his experience.
Fisher can play both ends of the ice and can win face-off battles in the defensive zone. He also has played 1,104 regular-season games in his career. In this postseason, only Toronto’s Patrick Marleau (182) and San Jose’s Joe Thornton (160) have played more postseason games than Fisher (140) without winning a Stanley Cup.
The 6-foot-1 center now is in the playoffs with a Presidents’ Trophy winner. After finishing off Colorado in six games Sunday night, Nashville awaits a showdown with the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.
Knowing the Predators had a great team was only part of why Fisher came out of retirement. Spending time with good friends added to the attraction.
”You look at your career and playoffs are what you do and so much fun,” Fisher said. ”I’ve had the opportunity to have some pretty good runs. But you look back and those are really fun times that you enjoy and you remember with guys. And so it’s good memories.”
Fisher helped the Predators win their first Western Conference title last spring to reach the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final. Then they lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Fisher didn’t make a decision on retirement until August.
The Predators made sure to protect themselves while waiting.
General manager David Poile signed Nick Bonino as a free agent away from Pittsburgh. In November, Poile acquired center Kyle Turris away from Ottawa as part of a three-team trade giving Nashville plenty of depth at the position.
The Predators kept the door open to their former captain. They started talking more in December, knowing the depth needed to play into June. Underwood also kept asking Fisher what he wanted to do. The husband and father who had focused on building a house and a hunting show finally said yes.
A chance to win the Cup was too good to pass on, then again Underwood could have just decided to kick Fisher out of the house.
”That might’ve been part of it,” Fisher said with a laugh. ”But yeah, definitely it’s good to be back. She’s a big fan. She’s going to be at all the games she can.”
Fisher announced his return at a news conference Jan. 31 . He spent February working his way back into shape and signed a one-year, $1 million deal for the rest of the season Feb. 26 when NHL rosters expanded at the trade deadline. Fisher, who had 18 goals and 24 assists last season, scored in his first game back , a 4-3 win in Vancouver on March 2.
Against Colorado, Fisher centered Nashville’s fourth line. He averaged 11 minutes, 16 seconds per game in the first round while winning 75.5 percent of his face-offs.
Forsberg said Fisher looked like himself from his first game back and obviously is more comfortable with each game.
”Really good guy to have around the team,” Forsberg said Authentic Thomas Vanek Jersey , ”and he’s been awesome.”
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The friendly welcome for Steve Wilks as new coach of the Arizona Cardinals didn’t last long.
By the second quarter of Sunday’s 24-6 season-opening home loss to Washington, the fans were showering the sputtering team with boos. Wilks doesn’t blame them.
“It was well-deserved, well-deserved,” Wilks said Monday. “I’m disappointed in the mere fact that we couldn’t put a more productive game together for our fans. We’re going to make sure that we go out this week and practice hard and have a great game plan and go out and execute.
“But, the fans booing, they come there, they support us, they pay their money and they want to see a good product, and we didn’t put a good product on the field yesterday.”
There were problems all around in the loss, but the worst was run defense.
“Still very disappointed in how we performed. Again, it started on the defensive side of the ball,” Wilks said. “I just thought it was poor run fits, a lack of execution up front, getting out of our gaps, linebackers not playing downhill and just really being ‘out-physicaled’ up front.”
The offense was equally inept, running 14 plays in the first quarter. Arizona had the ball three times in the first half, gaining a couple of first downs on its first possession and going three-and-out on the other two.
The Redskins ran off consecutive touchdown drives of 80, 73 and 92 yards to lead 21-0 at the half.
“We just didn’t play the way we are capable of playing,” said safety/nickel cornerback Budda Baker, whose 11 tackles tied Josh Bynes for a team high. “They preach on staying in your gaps and doing your job and sometimes players will be out of their gaps and the next thing you know the running backs will be in their gaps.”
On the first scoring drive, the Redskins had runs of 13, 14, 13, 8 and 8 yards, culminated by Alex Smith’s 13-yard TD pass to Chris Thompson. The second drive Phil Kessel Jersey , Smith did his most serious damage with short passes that turned into significant gains, including an 11-yard pass to Thompson on third-and-seven, a 22-yard pass to Jordan Reed and 10 yards to Jamison Crowder.
Adrian Peterson finished it off with three straight power runs up the middle, the last for one yard and a touchdown, the 100th rushing score of the running back’s career.
The final drive was mostly Smith, who went 7-of-7 for 77 yards.
“From what I was able to see, from watching the tape, I think guys are trying to do too much instead of just trying to do their job,” Wilks said. “That’s what we talked about this morning, being one of 11, just trying to go out and do your job and trusting the man beside you. Guys trying to make plays when it’s not their play, and they’re getting out of their gaps. Then again, some of it is just using our hands, technique, those things, as well, and we’re going to get it corrected this week.”
They’d better. Next up on Sunday is a matchup with the reigning NFC West champion Rams in Los Angeles.
Arizona’s offense did the defense no favors with its quick outs in the first half.
Falling behind so quickly forced the Arizona game plan, centered on David Johnson’s running, to be thrown out.
Sam Bradford was uncharacteristically erratic, completing 20 of 34 for 153 yards with one interception.
Johnson called it “a bad game” for him, gaining 37 yards in nine carries and catching five passes for 30 yards.
Larry Fitzgerald had seven receptions for 76 yards, but the only other wide receiver with a catch was rookie Christian Kirk, who had one for four yards.
The Cardinals finally got going a little bit late in the game.
“When you get behind like that you just kind of have to start calling plays on the go and adjusting to what they’re doing with us,” Kirk said. “I feel like we got the ball moving a little bit at the end, so you can build off of that.”