First off, thanks to Laurie Carr for finding and translating this interview Alex Frolov had with the Russian media. Laurie, who runs Beyond the Blueshirts, does a great job tracking what’s going on behind the scenes at the Connecticut Whale, and overseas with the Rangers prospects in Russia. If you haven’t checked out her site, you should.
As per Laurie, Frolov is fairly unhappy in New York, and has had a private discussion with coach John Tortorella about his ice time. When Frolov signed, he was guaranteed a chance to play significant time with Marian Gaborik, and that was a big factor in his decision to sign with the Rangers. Of course, Frolov has seen his ice time diminish to the point that he has been relegated to fourth line duties with Artem Anisimov and Derek Boogaard, a far cry from Gaborik. In regards to the decreased ice time, Frolov is less than pleased:
– What’s happened that in recent games you’ve been moved to the humiliating fourth line with the goon Boogard?
– A couple of days ago I initiated a private conversation with our head coach, [John] Tortorella, during which he claimed that he has nothing against me personally, and is simply trying to find some new [line] combinations. He said that the distribution of playing time depends only on that.
What aren’t you happy with?
– It’s absolutely unacceptable to me that that I spend 7-8 minutes a game on the ice, especially on an energy line. It’s just not my game, which I told the coach candidly. But there are no personal problems between me and him. I’m not a quarrelsome person. Even in our recent conversation there was no swearing or raised voices. Nobody blamed anyone, we simply discussed the situation. The coach promised that soon everything will change, I just need to be a little patient and work harder in practice.
Frolov hasn’t exactly been terrible this year, he’s just not doing what he was signed to do, and has been rather snake bitten this year. If he was signed to score, and isn’t doing so, then his decreased ice time is justified, considering guys like Brian Boyle are lighting the lamp at a better rate than Frolov. It seems like there is a miscommunication between Tortorella and Frolov about what his role should be as well:
Did you present any particular complaints to Tortorella?
– To me they’re still not completely clear. He asks that I shoot on goal as much as possible at every opportunity, even from the corners. But yet he demands that I loiter in front of the net, blocking the visibility of the opposition’s goaltender. I’m trying to readjust.
More often than not, situations like this are a simple case of a misunderstanding. Frolov does need to shoot more, and they need to be from better angles. However, his style of play has never been to sit in front of the net. If this were NHL ’11, he would be a “dangler”, and not the power forward that it appears Tortorella wants him to be sometimes. Good players adjust to what the coach expects, and still delivers the same production. But on the flip side, good coaches adjust to what their players are capable of doing. If Tortorella wants someone to be in front of the net when Gaborik is on the ice, that is best suited for guys like Brandon Dubinsky and Chris Drury, not Frolov.
Laurie also translated a bit that says Frolov has not yet asked for a trade, but hinted that he might if he does not receive the ice time and linemates he thinks he signed up to play with. If it were my decision, I would see how Frolov does with Gaborik and a net crashing center like Drury for a game or two before making any rash decisions. If it doesn’t work, then I would have no problem trading him for a draft pick. It certainly would answer the question about what the Rangers will do once Drury returns. It would also leave one less decision to make if and when Vinny Prospal returns.