For Colin Fraser, it’s all about the fight


In addition to the ongoing battle at Kings training camp for roster spots on the blueline, there’s still some unfinished business among the third and fourth lines, as well. Outside of Jarret Stoll being cemented in as one of the pivots, multiple cases can be made for various players to occupy the other five positions.

For center Colin Fraser, that’s not exactly the best news he’s ever heard – but, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise either. In the interview below he talks not only about battling for a roster spot this year, but also about fighting in the NHL…

On how competition for a roster spot is different now compared to the past two seasons in LA:

“You go back to when you first make the NHL, and how do you make it? You’ve got to take someone’s job, so it’s no different now. Now that I’m an older guy, there’s always someone trying to take your job. It’s a good thing. Competitiveness is good. It keeps everybody on their toes. You’ve got to be on the top of your game or somebody’s going to come in and take it away from you. You’ve got to keep that edge and not let up.”

On how much he thinks about the competition aspect while training during the summer:

“I just play. I’ve got to play. All that stuff is out of your hands. All you can control is the way you play. If you play your best, you shouldn’t have to worry about someone taking your job from you. If you don’t play your best, then you’ve got to start worrying. I’ve been here two seasons. Everyone knows what type of player I am and what’s expected of me. I know what’s expected of myself. You’ve got to not only continue to play as well as you can, but get better and improve in areas too.”

On finding a balance between mentoring and competing with guys who are fighting for his job:

“It’s nothing personal. We’re all in it together, but we all want to play in the NHL too. You can’t take anything personal at all. You look at last year—you’re in and out of the line-up and you want to play every single game. If Richie’s [Brad Richardson] playing in my spot, or I was playing in his—we’re not getting mad at each other. It’s a good competitiveness that keeps everybody on their toes. If you look at all the good teams, they have a lot of depth and they have that competitiveness. Maybe a weaker team doesn’t have as strong players and maybe it’s easier [to crack] the line-up, maybe not. Here, it’s good. We’ve got a lot of good young players. They obviously draft well here. You look at the core guys — from Brownie, all those guys — and now it’s the same young guys who are going to one day take over. It’s just a matter of when. Maybe this year. [Laughs] Hopefully not my job.”

On when he was breaking in, who he might have been pushing to take a spot from:

“When I went to Chicago, they had roster spots open the year I made it, which is rare. Teams change throughout the season, but heading into camp, they almost always seem to have your thirteen forwards on one-way NHL deals. In Chicago, they were just starting to turn the corner and had three wide open spots. So, it was a little bit different in that sense. There are still older guys there. Kevin Adams was there. Craig Adams is still playing in Pittsburgh. I ended up playing with him and then they ended up trading him to Pittsburgh that season. I’ve been on three different teams. I’ve seen a lot of different line mates, a lot of different people. I’ve learned not to read into anything and not get too wrapped up in what’s going on. Just play the game.”

On whether having Jordan Nolan and Dan Carcillo on his line allows him to work on offense more:

“I’m a defense-first mentality. I always joke with those guys – I’ll take care of the D-zone, you guys take care of the O-zone. Both of them, and Cliffy too, all have a lot of speed. They’re faster than I am. They’re good at getting in on the forecheck. [MM: Wait, does Cliffy have speed or is he just faster than you?... Fraser: Laughter] They’ve got speed. They all have speed. I’m slow. I have the defensive responsibility. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be offensive. If I start cheating and try to get too fancy or too cute, that’s when I don’t play. I know my role and I have to play my role and I can’t get away from that by trying to dangle guys.”

On when the last good training camp scrap was:

“We didn’t have one last year. Now we do mostly practicing. My first few years, we’d do three or four days of crazy scrimmages…It’s a different mentality now—a beat-up-the-opponent-not-our-own-teammates kind of thing. I saw Mike Brown and Shawn Thornton, two heavyweights in Norfolk, Virginia, go toe to toe and beat the living snot out of each other in a practice. You could hear a pin drop in that place, watching those two beating up each other up. It was quite the scene. It’s one of my good stories that I tell a lot…I’d have to give that one to Brownie, but Thorty’s obviously turning into a hell of a player and he’s got two Stanley Cups. He’s a heck of a player and he’s really tough. Brownie was tough too. Watching those two guys, it was crazy.”

[Bill Ranford interrupts the interview... In reference to Fraser scoring quite a few goals during the practice session he asks, 'Hey, Fraz, you send that stick to the Hall of Fame yet?' Fraser replies, 'Kid was hot today. I have a good shot when I have time to unload it. I just need time to get it and lean on it. (laughter) Game situation and I hit the panic button. Oh boy, I’d better dump this in. I’m just soft chipping it in.']

On if there’s less fighting because they’re not in game situations:

“There’s respect there. Guys respect each other. We’re going to play hard. I’m going to run Greener and he’s not going to take it personally and try it fight me, unless it’s something dirty, but I don’t think anyone’s doing anything dirty. [MM suggests Matt Greene probably isn't the guy Fraser should go after.] Yeah, but I can take Greener. He’s 240 pounds and I’m 190, but I could take him, I think. He’d bear-wrestle me to the ice. I’d hit him with a couple of pillows but he’d bear-wrestle me to the ice.”

[Fraser then admitted that Greene was more likely to pay him back with a good practical joke than via any sort of fisticuffs.  We have Greene's rebuttal to all this posted here.]

On the league’s attempt to take fighting away without saying they’re taking fighting away:

“You throw the instigator rule in over a long period of time… But I don’t feel like fighting numbers are down. I feel like they’re pretty on par every season as far as fights per game. I guess there aren’t as many heavyweight guys. There are a lot of guys willing to fight. I’ll fight. Carcillo, Nolly, Cliffy — those are all guys who can all play hockey but are all willing to fight at the same time.”

On the league’s new rule, where players will be assessed a two-minute penalty if they take their helmets off before a fight:

“You know what? If you’re going to take the helmet off, both guys are going to take it off anyway. It’s not going to be one guy doing it and the other guy not, out of respect for each other. No one’s going to do it.”

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  1. [...] today we posted comments from Colin Fraser, where he intimated he would get the better of Matt Greene in a good ‘ol hockey scrap. Ever [...]