Mike Fisher spent the first 11 years of his NHL career in the Canadian capital of Ottawa where the hometown Senators are scrutinized and second-guessed more than members of Parliament. But now that he's married to country music star Carrie Underwood, it's not just hockey fans paying attention to his every move.
Underwood, for instance, recently needled him on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" for gobbling up their closet space. "He's not a hoarder but he's close," she said.
In an exclusive interview with ThePostGame.com, Fisher laughs and defends himself: "I'm not that big of a hoarder," he says. "I do have lots of clothes. But she has me beat in the clothes department."
Such is life when your wife's star wattage is even bigger than your own. When the Senators traded Fisher to Nashville in February, the headline in The Tennessean said: "Predators acquire Carrie Underwood's husband."
Fisher doesn't mind the second-fiddle status. "I'm used to it," he says. "Being in Nashville, I can fly under the radar a bit more. It's nice to be not recognized as much. Nobody really does, unless I'm with her, obviously. That has been good."
The trade was a double perk for Fisher. He went from a last-place team to one in the thick of the playoff race, and he went to the city where he and Underwood had planned to settle long term. Underwood and Fisher, who were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, got married in July. But between her music commitments and his hockey schedule, they hadn't spent much time together before the trade.
"To come from a team that's been out of it since November to a contender was definitely great," he says "This was the most frustrating season I've had, ever, until I got traded. I get to find out what married life is like and get to live with her. That was the biggest bonus for sure. It definitely simplified things -- less travel, our schedule, being organized, stuff like that. That made the transition easy. I'm familiar with the city and have friends in Nashville too. That made it perfect."
The hockey part of the equation has also worked out well. The Predators have been a perennial playoff team with six appearances in the past seven seasons, but they've yet to win a series. They've lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champions in their past two appearances, including last year when they had the Blackhawks on the ropes.
Acquiring a center like Fisher, known for his playoff prowess, was a big part of their plan to finally turn that corner. The Predators paid a fairly steep price to Ottawa, giving up a 2011 first-round pick, plus a conditional pick in 2012 that can be as high as a second-rounder if Nashville wins more than one series this year. That cost, along with the $7 million owed to him in the next two seasons, placed significant pressure on him to deliver in the post-season.
"I try not to think about that," Fisher says. "I just want to go out and play and contribute."
So far, so good. The Predators are halfway toward winning their first playoff series, after beating the Ducks on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead. Fisher has been hot from the get-go. He had two goals and an assist in Game 1, a 4-1 win for the Preds in Anaheim, and another assist in Game 2.
Then in Game 3 at Nashville -- with Underwood in the stands -- Fisher picked up a fighting major against Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf in the second period, then bagged the winning goal midway through the third.
"It's been an easy transition to fit in with this group of guys and the organization," Fisher says. "It's been definitely different playing in this kind of market. I've enjoyed maybe a little less media attention."
But if he continues to click at this rate and lead the Predators to their first playoff series win, he figures to have more interviews heaped on his plate, and some of them might even focus 100 percent on pucks.
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