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|15 сентября 2009
Lombardi hopes team gets more from Frolov this season // LA Times
He has the size, speed and skill, the Kings GM says, but the winger has only passed the 30-goal marker twice since he entered the league. His production will be central to the team's playoff chances.
Three years ago, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi read Tolstoy's "War and Peace" to gain insight into the personality of Russian winger Alexander Frolov.
All those pages later, Lombardi is still trying to understand the enigmatic player, whose production will be crucial to the Kings' fortunes this season.
Frolov, 27, has the size, speed and skill to be dominant. He has surpassed 30 goals twice, peaking at 35 goals and 71 points in the 2006-07 season. He led the team with 32 goals last season, including a team-high 12 on the power play.
That's not just a bowl of borscht, but Lombardi said he believes Frolov can do better. Frolov's contract expires after this season and Lombardi began discussing an extension with his agent, Don Meehan, but their talks slowed while Meehan tended to his large stable of clients.
"There's been no stalemate, just kind of the nature of the business," Lombardi said Monday.
Asked what he expects from Frolov this season, Lombardi sighed.
"That's the thing with Fro. Should you expect what he's capable of or should you expect what he gives you?" Lombardi said.
"That's a great question. Some nights he looks like a perennial 40-goal-scoring power forward. Others, he's invisible. You're still looking at a very good player and a productive player but that's the thing.
"We all look at him some nights and think he can be in Iginla's class," he said, referring to the Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla, "those traditional power forwards. But he hasn't been there and I think that's why it's ironic to say 25 or 30 goals is pretty good. If I were to expect from him what I think he's capable of, it should be 40."
That kind of season might get the Kings into the playoffs. That would be new territory for Frolov after playing 455 regular-season games since his debut in 2002-03.
"It's been a long, long time without playoffs and I'm really looking forward to it," said Frolov, who will flank Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds Tuesday when a Kings split squad team faces a Coyotes split squad team at Glendale, Ariz. The other squads for both teams will play at the Staples Center.
"I really want to try it and know how it is to battle for the Stanley Cup."
That battle factor is what Lombardi thinks Frolov lacks.
"When do you get sick of losing and take responsibility for winning?" Lombardi said. "It's not only how many he scores, when he scores, when you rise to the occasion. At what point do you get [ticked] off and say, 'Enough's enough?'
"And what you worry about is some of these kids coming through system and what they pick up on. We're not going to fall into this trap of losing being acceptable."
Frolov said he and his teammates are determined to end the losing and make the playoffs.
"It's been a long time, no doubt about it. But I can't change the past," he said. "What we can do is just play better right now in the present. I think we have a really good chance to be there.
"I think we made a lot of progress last year as a team, and when you play as a team and we follow our system we can beat any team in the league, and we showed that last year. Maybe not consistent enough, but I think we can do it this year, for sure."