NHLers grateful to work out with Rebels

While they are members of the Red Deer Rebels alumni and are grateful for the opportunity to skate with the current edition of the Western Hockey League team, Colin Fraser and Brandon Sutter would much rather be with their NHL squads.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider

While they are members of the Red Deer Rebels alumni and are grateful for the opportunity to skate with the current edition of the Western Hockey League team, Colin Fraser and Brandon Sutter would much rather be with their NHL squads.

But, of course, they are locked out, a frustrating situation that is softened somewhat by attending the Rebels’ daily practice sessions at the Centrium.

“It’s a waiting game, obviously, the business side of the game is just a part of it,” Fraser said on Thursday. “We just have to wait it out and it’s nice to skate with the guys here and get in a good workout.”

Fraser is itching to get back to work with the Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champs, and yet he suspects that coming off a championship season does not make him an exception among NHL players.

“It’s funny. You play into the middle of June or whatever and people joke that maybe it’s a benefit to you to get some extra rest, but at the same time I think we’re all excited to play,” he said. “Everybody wants to play. You ask guys why they go to Europe (during a NHL labour dispute) and it’s just to play. It’s not even about the money. You just want to stay in shape because that’s one thing we all like — playing the game.”

As for the prospect of heading overseas while the powers that be attempt to hammer out an agreement between the owners and players, Fraser doesn’t see himself hauling out his passport any time soon.

“For me, no. I have a family and another (child) on the way,” he said. “If that’s an option it wouldn’t be for me until the worse scenario came about and that would be that there’s no season, and everybody is thinking and hoping that’s not going to happen.”

Sutter also hasn’t looked at the possibility of heading to Europe, at least not seriously.

“I’ve maybe considered it a bit . . . I’ve had a bit of interest, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that kind of move,” he said. “A lot of players feel they should sit and wait for another three to four weeks and then see where we’re at. By then we should have a pretty good idea of when we’re going to start playing or how long (the lockout) is going to be.

“So it would be tough to move all the way over there (Europe) and then come back in a week or two, so this is something I want to stay patient with. This works well for now, we’re getting good ice time here with the Rebels and it’s a good way to stay sharp.”

Sutter is certainly fired up about the prospect of joining his new NHL team. He was dealt from the Carolina Hurricanes to Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins in June and is pumped about the opportunity that awaits him.

“It’s tough. I’m anxious,” he said.

“I finally went down there (Pittsburgh) for awhile earlier this month, found a place to live and got to know the guys and stuff like that. Now I have to sit and wait. I’m anxious to get going but we just have to be patient with this and hopefully we can find the right deal.”

When the last NHL lockout occurred in 2004-05, Fraser was just completing his final season with the Rebels and Sutter was coming aboard on a five-game trial as a 15-year-old.

“It’s a whole new thing for me,” said Sutter.

“I’ve never been home at this time of the year since I played junior here. It’s kind of a different feeling. I guess there are worse places to be than home, but I think over the next couple of weeks here I’m going to start getting antsy.

“We’ll see how it goes. This is a place to skate and it’s nice to skate with these guys and stay in shape and try to stay sharp, so that part has worked out perfectly.”

Fraser is also grateful for the ice time, but moves away from the pack when various game-day tactics are discussed during the practice sessions.

“They’re trying to do business here, I just try and stay out of the way when they’re doing systems and line drills,” he said. “It’s nice to have some structure and being out there with the players brings back memories. Hanging out with the guys is fun, it makes me feel young again. Not that I’m that old.”


Just Posted

Update: Hundreds pay respects to Stettler homicide victim

Gofundme account created to help the Heritage House in Stettler

Victim Services information event planned

Information on becoming a Victim Service volunteer available at April 26 meeting

Much left to fight for beyond legalization, pot activists say as they mark 4-20

TORONTO — Cannabis activists say although this year’s 4-20 celebrations across the… Continue reading

Canadian Pacific starting operations shutdown ahead of possible strike

CALGARY — Canadian Pacific Railway says it has begun shutting down train… Continue reading

Nicholas Butcher says he fatally stabbed Kristin Johnston by accident

HALIFAX — Nicholas Butcher has told his second-degree murder trial that he… Continue reading

WATCH: Fine wine and food at Red Deer College

The Red Deer College Alumni Association hosted its 14th annual Fine Wine… Continue reading

Sarah Jessica Parker calls Cynthia Nixon’s run ‘exciting’

NEW YORK — Cynthia Nixon’s quest for the governorship of New York… Continue reading

Lawyers for Russian player say FIFA ends anti-doping case

By Graham Dunbar THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GENEVA — Lawyers for Russia defender… Continue reading

Woman who lost pink house, court case seeks box office win

WASHINGTON — Susette Kelo’s Supreme Court case now has a Hollywood ending,… Continue reading

Recent retail sales far weaker than initial estimates, revisions suggest

OTTAWA — Canadian retail sales during the crucial holiday shopping season were… Continue reading

U.S. woman sentenced to life in Valentine’s Day shooting plot at mall

HALIFAX — An American woman who plotted to go on a Valentine’s… Continue reading

Alabama mail-bomber the oldest executed in US modern times

ATMORE, Ala. — An Alabama man convicted of sending mail bombs during… Continue reading

The Latest: It was Putin call that had Trump fuming at Flynn

WASHINGTON — The Latest on former FBI Director James Comey’s memos (all… Continue reading

Boston’s Tuukka Rask, Riley Nash step up in Game 4 win over Leafs

Bruins 3 Maple Leafs 1 TORONTO — The Boston Bruins didn’t need… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month