NHL.com: Mink likes the fit in Hershey

by Lindsay Kramer || NHL.com

mink1_200.jpg Graham Mink wanted to anchor himself both personally and professionally this summer. He sealed both deals last week, in processes that seemed to fly by.

On June 21, he got married. And on July 2, after just a few hours of negotiating, he agreed to a free-agent deal that brought him back to Hershey.

"I don’t know which one was easier. But the wedding was fast," Mink said. "It’s a good thing you have a photographer, a lot of pictures. My church ceremony was 20 minutes, but it felt like 30 seconds, a shift of hockey. It (the deal with Hershey) was pretty quick, too. Knowing what kind of player I am, I know where I wanted to be. It was the same thing with my relationship."

Both his wife, Cristina, and the Bears hope for long honeymoon periods. The edge he has with Hershey is that the team and Mink have been married before.

Mink, a power forward right wing, was an integral part of the Bears’ team that won the Calder Cup in 2005-06, contributing 21 points in 21 playoff games. He then left the organization for San Jose, and played the past two seasons with affiliate Worcester. Despite being productive there (63 and 55 points, respectively) he never made it up to the Sharks.

"I took a shot. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an opportunity," Mink said. "I enjoyed my time with them. Really, none of the players in Worcester got much of a chance (in San Jose) the last two years. It (going back to Hershey) crosses your mind. After we won, they went to the finals the next year. Every player wants to be a part of that."

Mink, 29, gets a rare professional second chance with the Bears, and as an added bonus, Mink’s old coach with Hershey, Bruce Boudreau, is now the man calling the shots for the Capitals. It always helps to have friends in high places.

That link could be the only familiar one that Mink sees when he returns to Hershey. Well, there is one other thing — there is still the expectation of championship runs, which is all the motivation Mink needed to come back in the first place.

"They bring in the players to have a chance to (win). I wanted to be a part of that," Mink said. "There’s pressure on you. That’s one of the reasons I’m excited to go back. Whether it will be (like) two years ago, it remains to be seen."

Also see: Bears bring back former Calder Cup champion Mink