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Kings center Colin Fraser nominated for NHL's Masterton Trophy

March 13, 2012|By Helene Elliott
  • Colin Fraser skates against Carolina's Brandon Sutter (16) and Anthony Stewart (13) during the first period of a Feb. 4.
Colin Fraser skates against Carolina's Brandon Sutter (16) and Anthony… (Gerry Broome / Associated…)

Center Colin Fraser, who unwittingly became the center of a controversy last summer when the Kings claimed they were misled about the seriousness of a foot injury he suffered before they acquired him from Edmonton, has been nominated for the Masterton Trophy by members of the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Assn.

The trophy is named for the late Bill Masterton, a former Minnesota North Stars player who died as the result of a head injury he incurred during a game. The trophy is awarded annually to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

The Kings acquired Fraser, 27, from the Oilers in the Ryan Smyth trade last June. After the deal, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi contended the Oilers had misrepresented the nature of Fraser's injury. Fraser had to see a specialist in Cleveland and wait before he could get his foot repaired.

While the Kings filed a grievance — which was ultimately settled when the Oilers agreed to pay part of Fraser’s medical costs — Fraser diligently worked to recover from the surgery and get back onto the ice.

He didn’t make his season debut until Nov. 10 but has been a fixture on the fourth line ever since.

“It’s an honor. It’s good that people think of it like that,” Fraser said of his nomination. “I’m just a guy that works hard.

“To go back to the beginning, I’m just a guy that wanted to stay in the NHL and play and have a job and I’m glad that the Kings gave me that opportunity.”

Fraser said the uncertainty over his status was difficult to deal with.

“It was kind of a long saga just because it was over the summer, where things could have been fixed and done a lot sooner than they were,” he said Tuesday after the Kings’ morning skate in El Segundo. “That being said, it’s water under the bridge now. Everything’s healthy. I feel 100% and I get to play every night, and that’s what I wanted to do from the beginning.”

Each chapter of the PHWA nominates a player. The field is narrowed before writers vote again. The winner will be announced in June.

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