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января 2004 года.
Russian (Frolov) to stardom - LA Daily News
Frolov, acclimating quickly to U.S., has emerged as Kings' leading scorer
By Matt McHale
In the final days of his rookie season, Alexander Frolov listened as his European teammates talked excitedly about heading home for the summer.
It had been a miserable year for the Kings, filled with injuries and disappointment. When April rolled around last year, everyone was ready to go.
In an ordinary year, Frolov would have returned to his native Russia. His parents and two brothers still live in his beloved Moscow.
But with his wife Kate expecting the couple's first child in September, Frolov decided to remain in Los Angeles, a decision that has helped put him on the brink of NHL stardom.
He already has passed last year's 14 goals and has taken over for Ziggy Palffy as the team's leading goal-scorer with 16.
"It is a 13-hour flight home with no stops," Frolov said on the eve of tonight's game with the Mighty Ducks in Anaheim. "We didn't want to take that chance. It was hard at first. I missed home a lot. But it was a summer I will never forget."
Frolov, 21, worked on his English and he worked out five days a week with Kings conditioning coaches. The new language meant more freedom as he explored Los Angeles. He never figured out surfing but he loved the beach.
A year earlier he had joined the Kings with no one to share his love of books and chess. To teammates, Dostoevsky was not a Russian writer and Frolov's favorite novelist. He was a fourth-line winger with the Florida Panthers.
The Kings still don't have any other Russians, but when the club returned in September, Frolov had a baby daughter, Sasha. He also had the foundation for a breakout season.
Frolov scored a dazzling game-winner against Chicago on Jan. 18 that ended the Kings' winless streak at 14 games. Four nights later, he scored two goals against the Detroit Red Wings, just missing a hat trick in the final seconds of a 5-4 loss that was the Kings' only defeat in the past five games.
"It is a great feeling to contribute to winning," he said. "All year I have felt great confidence.
That confidence also has shown in the added tempo of his game, as he works aggressively in front of the net for a team that again has been ravaged by injuries.
Frolov's on-ice instincts for the game have blossomed this season. Positioning on plays and knowing angles have increased the dimension of his game. He also has honed his ability to play offense and defense, a skill rarely seen in a player so young.
"He is the smartest guy on the team," Kings broadcaster and former player Jim Fox said.
Last season, Frolov's biggest move was a nifty behind-the-net wraparound play that led to 14 goals and a spot on the NHL's all-rookie team.
But opposing teams picked up on his tendencies and he had just four goals in the second half.
Kings coach Andy Murray also curbed his praise, saying Frolov needed to work on his consistency. Murray likes what he sees this season. So do others.
"I think he is one of the top players in the league right now," Chicago Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter said.
Frolov is part of a growing number of Russian players to reach stardom this season. Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk will be playing in their first All-Star Game on Feb. 8 in St. Paul, Minn.
Columbus teenager Nikolai Zhrdev has been overshadowed by 19-year-old teammate Rick Nash, the NHL's leading goal scorer. But many scouts think Zhrdev will wind up a better all-around player.
The old Soviet Union produced some of the greatest hockey players, including Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Bure and Alexander Mogilny.
But years ago many players migrated to the NHL not knowing the fate of loved ones at home. The Soviets did not take kindly to losing such top commodities. It created great uncertainty among the players who left.
"I had a tough time that first year," said Fedorov, who signed with the Mighty Ducks last summer after a long career in Detroit. "I was missing home and my parents. I never thought I would see them again. As far as hockey it was a lot fun but the other stuff was tough."
But with the fall of communism in 1989, funding for Russia's rich sports tradition disappeared. It took more than 10 years and a new government for hockey to regain its place internationally. In 2002 and 2003 Russia capped the comeback with back-to-back World Junior Championships.
Frolov was taken in the first round of the 2001 draft by the Kings. He played two seasons in Moscow before signing a three-year, $3.5 million NHL entry-level contract.
During the summer of 2003 he balked at the idea of leaving Russia. But the money and opportunity were too good.
"There are a lot of players over there who figure it is better to stay home and improve their game without having to come here and play in the American Hockey League," said Bill O'Flaherty, Kings director of player personnel. "You might as well learn where it is comfortable."
Frolov now is most comfortable in Los Angeles. He will return to Moscow next summer to visit. But this now is home.
5 августа. «Король» Фролов идет в армию. - Советский
5 августа. «Король» Фролов идет в армию. - Советский Спорт