Michael Frolik has turned into the Blackhawks’ utility player this season: growing into his penalty-killing role, playing on the fourth line, then moving to the top line when Marian Hossa was hurt.
Now he’s on the move again to the Blackhawks’ second line. And to left wing. But for Frolik, it’s just one more adjustment and one more challenge he’s willing to try.
Frolik will be on Dave Bolland’s left side when the Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues tonight at the United Center. It’s one more move for Frolik, who’s taken it all in stride and tried to capitalize on his opportunities. His move to the top line, which ends now that Hossa is back from his shoulder injury, generated his first goals since scoring in the season opener on Jan. 19.
And Frolik hopes the move to second line keeps him going.
“Coaches told me to just keep playing the same way, keep it simple, don’t always just try to find (Patrick) Kane,” said Frolik, who will be doing that from a different side. “It’s a little adjustment going to the left side. I used to play both, so it’s not something big. The first few shifts I’ll have to get used to it. After that, it’s fine.”
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Kane said Frolik just has to keep playing the way he has recently.
“He’d been playing great with Johnny (Toews) and Brandon (Saad) on the first line. While Hoss was out, he filled in real well,” Kane said. “He’s very talented. Off the ice, on the ice, at practice, he’s probably one of our hardest workers. With him, you just try to give him the confidence to keep playing the way he’s been playing. He’ll be fine.”
Coach Joel Quenneville said Frolik’s adapted to all situations he’s been in this season.
“He’s been very useful in a lot of ways,” he said. “He took advantage of the PK right away, then playing with Toews and now with Bolland. He’ll get some quality ice time. His game’s been very consistent. We’ve used him at center, but mostly on the wings. He has some versatility.”
Frolik’s versatility has led to opportunity. He’s taken advantage of them thus far, and looks to do it again.
“You get opportunities you try to grab them,” Frolik said. “It’s just another good opportunity, and you want to grab it and make sure you can be in that role. Hopefully it works out.”