by PuckStopsHere on 10/22/09 at 02:36 PM ET
The Los Angeles Kings are off to a pretty good start. They have a 5-4 record through nine games. They created some controversy when coach Terry Murray did not dress Alexander Frolov for their last game, which was Monday versus the Dallas Stars. Frolov is one of the more talented players on the Kings. Last season his 59 points placed him second in team scoring (behind Anze Kopitar). This season he has five points in his eight games played so far.
The problem with Frolov is he has a style that appears as though he isn’t trying. When everything works he looks very slick. He is in the right place to exploit offensive openings and lead the Kings attack. When things don’t work he doesn’t find those openings and often is invisible. It is a style of play issue that makes him appear to be not trying. The language and culture barrier with Frolov since he is Russian is also an issue. He is not as easy for a Canadian coach like Terry Murray to understand and to motivate, since they have very different backgrounds. As a result, Murray is unhappy with Frolov when there isn’t a strong case for problems.
Alexander Frolov is one of the better scorers on the Kings. He is an adequate defensive forward. Frolov will never contend for a Selke Trophy, but he is far from the worst defensive player on any team. In short, Frolov is one of the better players on the Los Angeles Kings. There is no need to single him out for discipline.
There is no need to potentially create a controversy by alienating one of the better players on the Kings, when all is going well. There is potential that an unhappy Frolov could have negative effects on the team.
Alexander Frolov is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Likely this benching ensure that he will not be back with the Los Angeles Kings next season. Very possibly, it will lead to a Frolov trade at some point this year.
The Los Angeles Kings have produced a pretty good group of young forwards who are hitting their primes in the NHL right now, but they have not gathered a sufficient payoff for it. Mike Cammalleri has moved on to Calgary and Montreal. Patrick O’Sullivan is playing with the Edmonton Oilers. Alexander Frolov seems to be heading out of town soon. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown remain. The Kings would be in better shape if they had managed to secure those five as the core of their offence, but they are letting them slip away instead. Los Angeles is a huge glamorous city. It could become one of the desired locations for free agents in the NHL, but the Kings have not been able to do so. There seems to be a lack of a coherent plan to see that this happens.
The Los Angeles Kings have needlessly singled out Alexander Frolov with his healthy scratch. There is little reason for such a move and little to gain from it. Likely, it will lead to Frolov leaving L.A. by free agency (if not sooner through trade). The Kings are not better off for this move. It was unnecessary as the season is off to a good start in Los Angeles and Frolov had been playing pretty well.
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