Back when I covered hockey for The Toronto Star, I had a running debate with my esteemed colleague, Damien Cox. The subject of our discourse was Mike Fisher of the Ottawa Senators. Hey, we’re hockey geeks. That’s the way we roll.

In any event, it was always my opinion that Fisher was a 40-goal player waiting to happen. I thought he had enough speed, smarts and durability to be a consistent offensive producer, largely because his quick feet and quick mind on the defensive side created so many chances for him.

Cox, on the other hand, viewed Fisher as a plugger who would struggle to score 25 a season on a consistent basis.

Cox’s reasoning was sound — Fisher’s hands were nowhere near good enough to be an elite scorer in the NHL. And until this season, he was absolutely right.

Call it the Carrie Underwood Factor, but after nine seasons in the NHL, Fisher might finally be proving me right.

Not only is Fisher on pace for 39 goals this season — that’s almost 40, right? — but the goals he’s scoring are important ones, case in point his overtime winner against the Washington Capitals Monday night. That goal was his fourth game-winner of the season and his second in overtime.

Of his 10 goals so far this season, four have either put the Senators into a lead at one point during the game or won it for them in overtime.

Two others have pulled the Senators into a tie.

All told, 14 of his 21 points have come on goals that have either put the Senators ahead in games or pulled them into a tie.

So if someone said to you before the season started that at the quarter point of the campaign, Jason Spezza would have one goal and Fisher would have 10, you almost certainly would have sent them for drug testing.

But that is indeed the case as Fisher has emerged, at least for now, as a major go-to player when it comes to offensive production.

And it’s about time, too, because I’ve been telling people that for years.

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