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.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Improving life for people with Alzheimer’s and their families is a priority for Raitt

The federal Conservatives deputy leader is dealing with the disease in her own home

PHOTO: International Peace Day

Visitors broke bread, made crafts and trading cards at a gathering marking… Continue reading

Snowfall warning issued for Central Alberta

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Central Alberta Friday afternoon. Warning… Continue reading

POLL: Most Red Deerians don’t want cell phones in the classroom

Sixty-six per cent of Advocate readers who responded to an on-line poll… Continue reading

Grassroots movement to clean up Red Deer is gaining momentum

Homeless people need more attention than shopping carts, says former councillor Cindy Jefferies

Updated: Grey Cup in Red Deer to raise funds for military families

Money raised will go to the Military Family Resource Centre and be used locally

Dustin Byfuglien scores in overtime, Jets beat Flames 4-3 in pre-season

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little tied the game late in the third and… Continue reading

Mistrial denied in Calgary murder trial over jury’s visit to hotel Denny’s

CALGARY — A Calgary judge has denied a request for a mistrial… Continue reading

Former Canadian astronaut says space shuttle is a vehicle of hope

OTTAWA — Sending messages of hope from space is a big part… Continue reading

Canada requests trade panel on uncoated groundwood paper ruling by U.S.

OTTAWA — Canada has requested a NAFTA trade panel review a U.S.… Continue reading

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

SURREY, B.C. — Three First Nations in British Columbia gathered today to… Continue reading

Tail with a happy ending: Dog rescued from fighting ring, ready for police work

Dallas’s ear-to-ear grin and bright brown eyes seem to sparkle with joy.… Continue reading

Liberal leader doubles down on notion that $75 weekly grocery bill is possible

MONTREAL — One day after being ridiculed for saying it was possible… Continue reading

Jury resumes deliberating man’s guilt in Calgary mother of four’s death

CALGARY — Jurors are continuing to deliberate the guilt of a man… Continue reading

Most Read