cody franson

Leafs’ Franson signs in Sweden

Unable to secure an NHL contract prior to the lockout, Cody Frason has found a deal in Sweden

Today, Franson signed with reigning Swedish Elite League champion Brynas IF, a deal that was first reported to be a full season in length but, according to the Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan, will allow Franson to return to North America should the lockout end.

The 25-year-old RFA found himself in contractual limbo after failing to re-up with the Leafs prior to the CBA expiring on Sept. 15. Unlike other young RFA blueliners that entered the lockout without a contract (Michael Del Zotto, P.K. Subban), Franson wasn’t a major piece of his team’s defense last year, appearing in just 57 games.

That said, he told the Sun he wanted to sign a deal to come back to the Leafs and make his mark.

“You hoped to have it done before, and now you hope to have it done soon after this is resolved,” Franson said of his contract. “For me, it’s a matter of making sure I’m in the best shape, ready to step in and play well right off the bat, put my stamp on things.

“I wasn’t happy with my season last year and the way things went.”

A former third round pick, Franson looked to be a bright up-and-coming blueliner with Nashville, scoring 50 points in his first 141 games at the NHL level. In 2011, he tied for the Preds lead in playoff scoring among blueliners.

He was dealt to Toronto last July with Matthew Lombardi, in exchange for Brett Lebda and Robert Slaney.

Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci

The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.