Center Colin Fraser took a bit of a curious path to his current role with the Kings. Originally drafted by Philadelphia in 2003, while he was playing junior hockey for the Red Deer Rebels, he never got a chance to play in the City of Brotherly Love. Instead, a year later, the Flyers traded him to Chicago as part of a package for Alexei Zhamnov. After some time in the American Hockey League he finally made his NHL debut on January 7, 2007 at the United Center. However, it was the only game he’d play in the big show that season - and the following year saw him play only five games with the ‘Hawks.
He became a full-time player in 2008-09 and hasn’t looked back since, including a run to his first Stanley Cup in 2010. Fraser wasn’t given a chance to defend that title though, due to a summer long fire-sale by the Blackhawks. But, a brief stop in Edmonton is a now a distant memory, as the 28-year old grinder identifies most with his time in Chicago and the past few years in Los Angeles.
So, prior to the 2013 Western Conference Final getting started tomorrow, he spent a few minutes talking about what it means to play his former club and what the Kings might need to do to beat them…
On any feelings and emotions about playing the Blackhawks:
“It will be fun, I still know a lot of the guys on the team, still friends with some of them.. off the ice of course not on the ice. Really looking forward to it, I mean it’s a fun building to play in, it’s a fun city, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Now they’re the best team this season, so it should be a good series.”
On how Chicago is a different team now compared to when he was there a few years ago:
“I think they’re overall a more skilled lineup vs 2010. We had a bigger, stronger (group) - Byfuglien, Ladd, guys like that who are big strong physical players – vs. this team, (who are) faster and maybe a little bit more skilled. They roll four lines really well, and all four lines can score.”
On needing to get a win in Chicago to take the series:
“You got to win on the road to win the whole thing. For whatever reason we haven’t been as successful at that this postseason. It’s a new series, it doesn’t really matter what we did the first two series. I think, regroup and definitely find a way to win on the road, especially in that building. I mean we played in San Jose and Chicago is just as tough.”
On this weekend’s back-to-back games:
“Both teams are on the same ice, so I mean there’s no advantage or disadvantage. The first game is at 4PM, so an earlier game a little more rest. It’s different but at the end of the day if it’s fair it doesn’t really matter, and it’s exciting just to bang them out and get them over with.”
On defensive being the key to winning road games:
“Maybe keeping it a little more simple and getting pucks on the net versus trying to create a play. I think we have to approach a road game just like we do here at home. You go back to last season and it was the opposite we were winning on the road and not here at home. It’s just weird how it goes sometimes, but I think all those road games we only won one road game but it doesn’t really matter because we won the series. Now it matters and now we have to win on the road this series.”
On if the Kings have a different mentality at home compared to the road:
“No. It’s weird, but statistically, we approach every game the same. It’s the old cliché, but we take it one game at a time, and it doesn’t matter where you play, at home or on the road, we don’t change the way we play, we don’t change our system, we don’t change anything. I think we got to find a way to execute it better on the road and do the little things right.”
On if he likes to begin playoff series on the road:
“During the regular season you play to get home ice advantage of course, with that being said we didn’t get that but yeah we’re excited to be on the road. I think it doesn’t matter as long as you get off on the right foot, and getting off on the right foot in winning and you’re going to have to win on the road.”
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