James O'Brien

Mark Fraser, Shawn Thornton

Sens sign defenseman Fraser to a 1-year, 2-way contract


OTTAWA (AP) The Ottawa Senators have signed defenseman Mark Fraser to a one-year, two-way contract.

The deal will carry an annual value of $800,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the American Hockey League.

Fraser, 28, spent time with both the New Jersey Devils and the AHL’s Albany Devils last season, recording four assists and 55 penalty minutes in 34 games with New Jersey. The Ottawa native had three points (one goal) and 45 penalty minutes in 18 games with Albany.

Fraser will add depth to the blue line after the Senators suspended young defenseman Mikael Wikstrand for leaving training camp and returning to Sweden.

Drafted by New Jersey with a third-round pick (84th overall) in the 2005 draft, Fraser has played in 219 NHL games with the Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers.

Fraser appeared in two preseason games with Toronto on a professional tryout before being cut.

Oilers, City of Edmonton make #SpiderMable’s wish come true

spidermable does it
via Edmonton Oilers Twitter feed
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In a wonderful gesture that echoed the Bay Area’s “Batkid,” the Edmonton Oilers and City of Edmonton teamed up to make one child’s dream come true on Monday.

The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada learned that Mable Tooke – or #SpiderMable – wanted to battle crime while she battles cancer.

The Edmonton Police beckoned Spider Mable by noting that Oilers captain Andrew Ference was “kidnapped” by the diabolical Mysterio.

The Ference family begged for her help:

Wisely, #SpiderMable loaded up for a big day with a tasty breakfast:

Who needs web-slinging when you have a SPIDER-LIMO?

Spider-Man pitched in to help, too.

You really can’t have a superhero without a sweet theme song, by the way.

Ultimately, #SpiderMable saved the day, and captured many hearts along the way. Here are some additional photos from the Oilers:


PTO again: Avs give Glencross a shot

Travis Ewanyk Curtis Glencross

If at first your PTO does not succeed, try again. The saying goes something like that, right?

The Toronto Maple Leafs cut Curtis Glencross from his tryout on Sunday, but he didn’t need to wait long for another opportunity, as the Colorado Avalanche gave him a PTO today.

Granted, this would be more of a feel-good story if the 32-year-old received a guaranteed contract rather than having to jump through more hoops, but at least it shows that he wasn’t without a chance for very long.

As far as the Avs go, this might prove to be quite an impediment for fellow PTO invite Jack Skille:

Glencross discussed his recent challenges as a father of three with TSN this past weekend:

“You just like to have something set in stone so you can get your family back together and get back to what you’re comfortable with in everyday life,” says Glencross, who has a four-year-old, three-year-old and six-month-old. “But right now the focus is trying to make this hockey club and doing what I can to do that right now.”

It’s tough not to pull for the guy to at least land a full-time gig.

Beleskey welcomes pressure in Boston

Matt Beleskey
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With all the changes in Boston, many will expect free agent acquisition Matt Beleskey to immediately become a go-to guy for the Bruins.

From what he told NHL.com, the gritty scorer wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Yeah, I’d like to take a lot of responsibility for helping this team,” Beleskey said. “Coming in and making a difference, that’s what I want to do. They went out and gave me a great contract, and I was very grateful for that, and I’m going to work hard and do my best to repay them for that.”

The 27-year-old said “I’ve always thought of myself as a 20-goal scorer” when asked about his breakout 22-goal campaign from 2014-15.

While that total was by far his best run of production so far in the NHL (every season with the Anaheinm Ducks), he only managed to play in 65 regular season games.

If he can manage a full season as he debuts with the Bruins – not a guarantee, as he’s never played in more than 70 games – then perhaps he can dodge some of the bumps in the road that often come with changing teams.

Also: he could line up with David Krejci, a talented player who also happens to have something to prove in the opposite way (Krejci’s 2014-15 was as disastrous as Beleskey’s was triumphant).

Perhaps Beleskey knows the deal in Boston. If he works hard and produces, he’ll likely be a fan favorite; if not … well, he’ll likely hear it from fans.

Marc Staal: ‘No weaknesses’ on Rangers defense

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Two

Take a look at the New York Rangers’ defense for a moment, as it’s currently constructed:

Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Keith Yandle, Dan Boyle, Kevin Klein and Raphael Diaz.

What sort of words or phrases come to mind when you see that group?

Just to throw out some guesses, one would assume that words like experienced, expensive and maybe even elite pop up in different minds.

What about flawless?

That’s more or less how Marc Staal assessed the Rangers’ group, as he told the New York Post.

“You look at our lineup, and there’s no weaknesses there,” Marc Staal said. “We’re a very talented group and a lot of different guys bring a lot of different aspects. We compliment each other pretty well.”

Staal is right about the group being fairly versatile. At their best, Boyle and Yandle can bring a lot of offense. Staal and Girardi cover the “defensive defensemen” category while McDonagh provides a nice combination of both.

This group has plenty of critics, however.

In particular, some believe that Girardi and even Staal are overrated. (Granted, Girardi is far and away the more criticized defenseman of the two.)

Ultimately, there’s nothing really wrong with Staal pumping his teammates’ tires, especially since it was likely an off-the-cuff statement.

One can imagine rival fans bringing it up after cringe-inducing gaffes – which even the best blueliners suffer from – more than a few times in 2015-16, at least if they’re diligently trolling Staal & Co.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)