For Frolik, the extra work pays off
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Michael Frolik sat in front of his locker Friday morning trying to explain what drives him to do it.
Just what it is that drives the native of Kladno, Czech Republic, to fire shot after shot after shot at an empty net long after practice has ended and all of his teammates have retreated to the locker room?
"I like to stay out there a little longer and work on some things, shoot the puck a little more. I've always been like that — try to do a little extra," Frolik said. "As a forward, you want to score goals; it's the best feeling you can have in hockey."
Well, consider Frolik one of the happiest men in the land after the game he put together Friday against Minnesota. He scored 2 goals, including a short-hander, to lead the Blackhawks to a 5-2 win and a 2-0 series lead over the Wild. Patrick Sharp added two third-period goals and Bryan Bickell added an empty netter.
Frolik, a former first-round pick of the Florida Panthers, scored 21 goals in each of his first two seasons in the NHL and looked on his way to bigger and better things — at least from an offensive standpoint.
But that all changed when he was traded to the Blackhawks late in the 2010-11 season and suddenly it wasn't scoring that was expected from Frolik.
"They kind of gave a little different role than I was used to because of the personnel they have here," he said. "I play more PK and try to be a more defensive player than I was before, but I feel comfortable here."
But yet he still takes all those shots after practice.
"You can always try to make more progress and try to learn from our top guys, watch them and always try to be better," Frolik said. "I have to believe I can be that player and work hard and maybe one day I'll be a scorer again. I did it the first two years, so I know I can do that."
He sure did that Friday, opening the scoring at 8:34 of the first period by gathering in a long rebound off an Andrew Shaw shot and blasting it past Wild goalie Josh Harding.
"It was a lucky bounce and I just put it on net," Frolik said.
His second goal, a short-hander, came just 49 seconds into the second period to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead.
Frolik has 11 goals in 136 regular season games with the Blackhawks, but in the NHL playoffs it's quite a different story — with 6 goals in just 13 games.
Not bad numbers for a guy who doesn't get too many offensive chances.
"There's no question I'd like to be like these guys who are in front of me, Hoss, Tazer — those guys," he said. "My goal is to move up in the lineup and play more — that's what I want to focus on."
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