Friday, March 25, 2011Posted: 4:20 PM
By Tracey Myers
Michael Frolik needed some faceoff advice.
The Blackhawks center, who hadnt played that spot in quite a while, had taken some faceoffs in past seasons with the Florida Panthers but not many. So Frolik talked with Ryan Johnson, who has a team-best 62.7 faceoff win percentage.
Stay low and shorten up his movement, Johnson said he told Frolik. Sometimes guys get these big swooping moves where you lose your balance, lose your power. Its something I take a lot of pride in them. I dont want to overwhelm him, but little things help.
Apparently it did.
Frolik, who won seven of 11 draws against his former team on Wednesday, is currently winning 45.3 percent of his faceoffs. But thats just been one adjustment that Frolik has had to make with moving back to center. But be it staying strong defensively, taking on more responsibility or adapting to linemates, Froliks done just fine.
He accepted the role and hes doing pretty well, said linemate Tomas Kopecky, whos done the wing-to-center move himself before. It was the same for me when I moved to center. Its a little harder on the draw. But hes a pretty strong kid. You dont realize how strong he is on the stick. He can win a lot of good draws.
Frolik said hes learned plenty from his new teammates but especially appreciated Johnsons faceoff advice.
I think hes one of the best in the league, Frolik said. He told me how to hold the stick a little bit and to sit low and then stop. That helped me a lot. Hes a good guy at that.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Froliks entire game has developed well with the Blackhawks.
Hes getting more familiar with his teammates and systems and more comfortable with the puck as well, he said. He, Hossa and Kopey have been effective. Defensively the one thing that he brings is responsibility. When you have a guy in the middle that knows his way around both ends, its helpful.
It doesnt hurt that his linemates are Kopecky and Marian Hossa; the three share a common language that has translated to a comfortable partnership on the ice. The trio combined for a pretty goal on Wednesday night, a Hossa-to-Frolik-to-Kopecky connection that elicited a wow from Kopecky afterward.
Froliks adjusting just fine to new responsibilities. He continues to try and get better at each one of them.
Its always nice when you can play like that, hopefully its not going to stop and were going to keep playing well, Frolik said. Weve had some chances before but we just couldnt score. Hopefully itll turn.
Defenseman Brian Campbell said earlier this week that he would have to deal with his left foot injury and he reiterated that on Friday. Campbell played more than 20 minutes against Florida on Wednesday but said the injury does affect him.
It kind of affects my skating a little bit. Thats the frustrating part, he said. At different times, it gets to be challenging but its improving every day. Obviously I was able to practice today and you just try to keep going.
Dave Bollands status (concussion) has not changed and Patrick Sharp (left knee) is progressing just fine, Quenneville said. He added that hes still hoping Sharp can return by the end of the regular season.
Bollands situation, however, is harder on which to put a timetable.
The uncertainty leaves you concerned, Quenneville said. But things can change quickly.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.