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Frolik to take injured Hossa's spot on Blackhawks' top line

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Michael Frolik still considers himself an offensive player. His back-to-back 21-goal seasons to open his career with the Florida Panthers are proof of it. But in 119 career games with the Blackhawks, he has just nine goals.

A year ago, his inability to put the puck in the net -- he had just five -- got to him. This year, he's scoring even less, his lone goal coming way back in the season opener against the Los Angeles Kings. But Frolik's frustration isn't boiling over this time.

"Last year, I was pretty hard on myself," the 25-year-old winger said. "I put too much pressure on [myself], and when it doesn't go in, you think about it and it's in your head. [Now] I just try to learn from it and don't worry about the points and goals, and just try to help the team."

His newfound prowess on the penalty-killing unit and the fourth line's recent strong road trip have made the lack of goals easier to swallow. But with Marian Hossa likely out Monday against the Kings -- Hossa's apparent shoulder injury has kept him off the ice since he was hurt in Colorado last week -- Frolik will get a shot on the Hawks' top line, alongside Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville hopes it sparks Frolik.

"He doesn't have the production to reflect how well he's been playing," Quenneville said. "The finish is the one area where it'd be nice to be a little more patient and comfortable. He's going to get some higher-quality opportunities. Don't force it, don't change too much. Just in the offensive areas, cash it in."

Riding a 27-game goalless drought -- he has just three assists in that span, too -- Frolik welcomes the opportunity.

"I don't have that [many] points, but I think my game is kind of there, just the goals didn't go in," he said. "The team is playing great and I'm glad to be a part of it. And hopefully, I can have more chances now and do something."

-- Third-line center Andrew Shaw missed Sunday's practice with an illness, but Quenneville said he was "optimistic" that he'd play Monday. Marcus Kruger took his spot during practice, with Jamal Mayers centering the fourth line.

-- Corey Crawford will start Monday. Ray Emery will play Tuesday against the Flames. In Calgary on Feb. 2, Emery made 45 saves and stopped all three shootout attempts to steal a win for the Hawks.

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About the blogger

Mark Lazerus was honored nationally by the Associated Press Sports Editors for three straight years at the Post-Tribune, was named one of the top three columnists in Indiana for three straight years and has won more than 20 statewide writing awards. He has covered Notre Dame for Sun-Times Media, and now covers the Blackhawks.



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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on March 24, 2013 12:45 PM.

Hossa "not likely" to play Monday for Blackhawks was the previous entry in this blog.

Hossa out, Shaw in tonight for Blackhawks is the next entry in this blog.

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