Saturday, March 12, 2011Posted: 2:42 PM Updated 5:37 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
WASHINGTON, D.C. Its been a while since Michael Frolik has played center on a consistent basis.
WATCH: Frolik center of attention
Still, the Chicago Blackhawks acquired him from the Florida Panthers in early February because of his versatility among the forward spots. So when Dave Bolland was knocked out against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, Frolik was thrown into the center fire.
He passed the test and hell be back there again on Sunday.
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Frolik will center Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa when the Blackhawks play the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon. For Frolik, whos been adjusting to a new team and a new system since the Feb. 9 trade, its just one more switch that hes willing to make.
Its really just a different mindset, he said. Its going to be different but I felt good out there in Tampa. You cant really think. You just have to play. I was with Hossa and Bicks, so thats a great line. Hopefully we can do a great job there.
The Blackhawks knew this was one asset they were getting with Frolik. A solid scorer with two 21-goal seasons prior to this one, Frolik has played predominantly wing over the last few seasons but adjusted well on Wedensday night. He also won five of eight faceoffs, a pleasant surprise for coach Joel Quenneville.
Over time were looking for consistency to see how he handles center. I think he did a nice job with what he was doing out there (against the Lightning), how he positioned himself. With faceoffs, that was a surprise how well he did. Sure every games different. Even today watching him in the faceoff circle, it looks like theres something there. Hopefully that line can take off a little bit.
Frolik and Hossa played a bit together when Frolik first came to the Blackhawks. They have talked about Froliks move to center and are on the same page.
Its just one more adjustment for Frolik. But for someone whos had to do plenty of it already, hes used to it.
Every games different, he said. I got a few practices in (at center). I feel like Im more comfortable right now and its getting better every game.
The Blackhawks want to get back to what worked for them in their eight-game winning streak. One of the good aspects was their starts, as the Blackhawks usually got in front of their opponents early. That has to return after looking up after the first period of their last two games.
With the slow starts, we cant put a finger on it, Troy Brouwer said. Even through the winning streak, we had a lot of games where we took one period off and games that shouldnt have been close were very close. We have to find a way to make sure were playing the entire game. First- second- or third-period lapses, weve been having them all as of late. We have to straighten out and make sure we find our game the entire game.
Brian Campbell lays on the ice after taking a big hit from Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin when the two teams met on March 14, 2010. Campbell suffered a broken collarbone and Ovechkin was suspended two games. Will there be payback on Sunday? (AP)
Defenseman Brian Campbell, who suffered a leg injury against Florida on Tuesday, will be a game-time decision for Sundays game. It was nearly a year ago when the Blackhawks last played the Capitals and Campbell took a nasty hit from Alexander Ovechkin. Campbell suffered a broken collarbone and Ovechkin was suspended two games.
But Quenneville said paybacks cant be part of the Blackhawks game on Sunday.
You have to be smart, you have to be disciplined and we have to have purpose with our play, he said. Last year was dealt with and we have to control what we can control.
Meanwhile, Bolland (concussion) will be out Sunday after taking an elbow to the head against the Lightning on Wednesday. Coach Joel Quenneville said theyre seeing a little progress with Bolland; hes still listed as day to day.
Defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith, both nursing hand injuries, will play Sunday. Corey Crawford will get the start in goal.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.