Disappointed Michael Frolik has some scoring to settle
BY Adam L. Jahns email@example.com December 9, 2011 7:40PM
CHICAGO - DECEMBER 02: Michael Frolik #67 of the Chicago Blackhawks waits for play to begin during the NHL game against the New York Islanders on December 2, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Updated: January 11, 2012 8:13AM
When Michael Frolik broke out offensively in the playoffs last season, there was the belief that he had gotten over his snake-bitten ways from the regular season.
It was hard not to appreciate his slick moves after he injured Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider on a penalty shot.
But things have gotten tough again for Frolik. If it wasn’t for the Hawks’ high position in the standings, Frolik’s lack of production would be a major concern.
The Hawks always can use some goals and assists from their depth players to take the pressure off Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. Things have yet to really click for Frolik, who had short one-game stints on lines with Kane and Toews this season.
“The scoring and the points aren’t there,” said Frolik, who has four goals, nine points and a minus-7 rating in 27 games. “It’s kind of disappointing a little bit. But you try to stick with it and don’t get frustrated.”
The Hawks like Frolik’s skills and signed him to a three-year, $7 million contract this summer. He remains an upgrade over speedy winger Jack Skille, who was dealt for Frolik last season.
Frolik also hasn’t exactly been used in offensive roles, either. He has spent most of the season on center Dave Bolland’s checking line, and he only has played 6:18 on the power play. But Frolik’s four goals — two being empty-netters — still leave much to be desired from a player who has had two 21-goal seasons.
“If it’s not there, you always think about it and try to change something a little bit,” Frolik said. “But we’ve got a great group here.
‘‘I would be happy if we win and not have any goals or points. That’s the most important thing, that the team is winning.”
Coach Joel Quenneville thought Frolik had a good start with Bolland and Bryan Bickell, continuing their success as a line from the postseason. But the group hit a rough patch, failing to produce at the rate “we’re happy with,” Quenneville said, and sparking a change.
Bolland has played through a nagging foot injury, and Bickell has been replaced by Ben Smith in the lineup for three games in a row. Quenneville said he has seen Frolik’s play fluctuate after a solid start.
“He’s coming off being hurt,” Quenneville said of Frolik, who missed two games with a shoulder injury. “[But] when he’s skating and he’s moving, more things are happening. We need him to use his speed and his quickness to enhance his game.”
Frolik remains positive, despite admitting that he’s thinking about his offense.
“We have so many guys here that can score,” Frolik said. “Hopefully, one day it’s going to turn, and it’s going to go in. You just try to work hard and do everything right, play simple [and] shoot the puck.”