Ex-Blackhawk Colin Fraser finally getting his due with the Kings
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com June 1, 2012 9:28PM
PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09: Colin Fraser #46 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup after teammate Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
STANLEY CUP FINALS
KINGS VS. DEVILS
All games at 7 p.m.
Game 1: Kings 2, at Devils 1 (OT)
Saturday: at Devils, Ch. 5.
Monday: at Kings, NBCSN.
Wednesday: at Kings, NBCSN.
x-June 9: at Devils, Ch. 5.
x-June 11: at Kings, Ch. 5.
x-June 13: at Devils, Ch. 5.
x- if necessary
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:05AM
NEWARK, N.J. — Of all the players the Blackhawks said goodbye to after they won the Stanley Cup, center Colin Fraser may have gotten the least amount of attention.
For the time being, though, none deserve it more than him.
Fraser has found a comfortable, productive spot in the Los Angeles Kings lineup. Not only does he center the team’s fourth line in the Stanley Cup finals against the New Jersey Devils, but coach Darryl Sutter named the line after him.
Fraser didn’t have that distinction in Chicago.
“I don’t call them our fourth line,” Sutter said. “I call it Colin Fraser and whoever is playing with him. If they’re on, they can play against anybody.”
Fraser scored the first goal of the Cup finals — and the first of his playoff career — Wednesday in Game 1, ultimately helping the Kings find their footing early on at the Prudential Center.
Fraser called it “an awesome feeling” and celebrated in kind. After all, despite being a respected teammate and possessing plenty of needed qualities as a player, he didn’t get those types of chances with the Hawks.
He played in only three playoff games during the Hawks’ Cup-winning campaign. A year before that, Fraser played in 81 regular-season games, only to play twice in the postseason as the Hawks made an unexpected run to the Western Conference finals.
“Obviously, Chicago is special,” Fraser told the Sun-Times. “It’s the first time you win. It’s the first time you do everything. But I didn’t play. I was the 13th forward. This time around, it feels special just because I get to play.”
Simply put, everything feels different.
“You win and take it anyway you can get it,” said Fraser, who has received texts from Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Andrew Ladd and Troy Brouwer cheering him on. “But it would be nice to get another one being in the lineup in a regular basis.”
Fraser was one of the more personable and affable Hawks on their Cup team, and he’s exactly the same for the Kings. But he also has the added perspective that comes with being a family man.
Fraser left the Kings during the Western Conference finals against the Coyotes to be with his 19-month-old son, Calder, and his family in Alberta, Canada.
“My son got sick and he had to go to the hospital,” Fraser said. “[Going home] was a no-brainer. Family comes first. Family is forever. Hockey is just a game.
“I played planes, trains and automobiles to go back home to see him. But the team was very supportive of my decision and reassured me it was the right decision.”
His son is now “back to normal,” Fraser said. “All the tests came out positive and good.”
Just like things have been on the ice for Fraser after some contentious and doubt-filled moments.
Fraser was traded by the Oilers to the Kings in the Ryan Smyth deal last summer, which Los Angeles contested after it was discovered that Fraser required foot surgery.
“I had a tough year last year on a personal level, going from the first team to the 30th-place team, and then struggling a little bit, and then traded again to LA,” Fraser said. “Then the beginning of the year it was not knowing if I was going to even be in LA. I had foot surgery. There was a lot of ‘what ifs.’
“A long story short, the Kings gave me an opportunity to play and show what I have, and I never looked back. Now that we’re in the finals, it’s been a weird ride, but obviously a good ride. Everything happens for a reason.”
Fraser, a Masterton Trophy nominee, won over the Kings and others.
Like he was in Chicago, Fraser is “a glue guy” — a go-to, character guy off the ice and a valuable sandpaper-type player on it.
“I’m confident whoever is playing with Fraser,” Sutter said.