One would have to think that going into an arbitration hearing up against Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has to rank up there as one of the worst things to do when trying to win a case. You’d have to think that’s just what was going through defenseman Mark Fraser’s mind as time ticked away leading up to his arbitration hearing on August 4.
Fraser and the Devils agreed to have peace in Newark and settled upon a one-year, $550,000 contract to have Fraser provide blue line depth and toughness for a Devils team that’s not likely to be lacking in aggression. Last season, Fraser played in 26 games in New Jersey amassing no goals and two assists while piling up 29 penalty minutes. Fraser had his season interrupted by a broken right hand suffered in October that kept him out of action for over a month. Fraser also suffered a scarier injury getting hit in the face with a puck in April.
Fraser will be part of the depth unit of Devils defensemen fighting for a job with Mark Fayne, Matt Corrente, Jay Leach, and Matt Taormina. Should Fraser get the minutes he’s looking for, he’ll join Eric Boulton and Cam Janssen as part of a unit that can fight for themselves and the puck as well.
With Fraser all set, the Devils will now no longer have any other distractions away from their last restricted free agent in Zach Parise. Those negotiations figure to be a bit more interesting in how they’re settled.
Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.