The Los Angeles Kings media guide lists Russian forward Alexander Frolov’s favorite NHL city to visit as New York, and his top arena to play in as Madison Square Garden. Starting this fall, the 28-year old former King will get the opportunity to try the city and its famous arena out for more than a day or two at a time, thanks to the cap-friendly, one-year, $3 million dollar contract he signed with the Blueshirts on Tuesday.
According to reports, Frolov left as much as $20 million dollars on the table in the KHL in order to remain in the NHL and experience life New York. Frolov discussed his decision to sign with the Rangers and his expectations for the new season in an interview with Sport-Express correspondent Alexander Shapiro on Wednesday. A translation of their conversation is provided below.
- Many hoped that this summer you would return to Russia. Why didn’t it come together?
– I actually had two good offers from KHL clubs, but at the same time there were opportunities to continue my career in the NHL, where a few clubs were also interested in me. In the end I chose the Rangers, because that option seemed optimal.
- It’s generally known that you were actively invited to both SKA and Salavat Yulaev [Ufa]. It’s said that in Ufa they offered you a four year contract for the sum of about $20 million. Is that the truth?
– I won’t hide that Ufa wanted very much to sign a contract with me. I communicated with head coach Vyacheslav Bykov, and he talked about the interest the club had in my services.
- There wasn’t resentment towards Bykov after he didn’t take you to the Games in Vancouver?
– I already forgot about the Olympics a long time ago, and I don’t want to discuss that subject today.
- On SKA you could have become a teammate of [former San Jose Shark goaltender Evgeny] Nabokov, with whom you played in the same conference in the NHL. Incidentally, were you surprised with his decision to move to Russia?
– Zhenka apparently thought that it would be better for him. And it doesn’t seem right to me to discuss or criticize the action of any other player. Each hockey player has the right to choose for himself where to continue his career. I want only to wish him good luck: that in the KHL he will play as reliably as he did in the NHL.
- As I understand it, given the fact that you signed a one year contract with the Rangers, your return to Russia next summer isn’t ruled out?
– In our lives anything is possible. For now I’ve been offered good conditions with the Rangers. I want to play for this distinguished club and live in New York.
- Did you consider the option of remaining in Los Angeles?
– I spent seven years on that team, and felt that it was time to change something.
- Have you already had a conversation with the leadership of the Rangers?
– Yes, I communicated with them before signing the contract. It was very important for me to understand in what capacity they would count on me. I heard that on the Rangers I’ll receive a lot of playing time, will regularly be on the ice during the power play. Most likely, I’ll play on a line with the leader of the team, Gaborik. In New York they want me to create a high-powered offensive unit with Gaborik.
– Last season your peer Gaborik was the unconditional leader of the Rangers and scored 86 points (42+44) in 76 games. What can you tell us about this player?
– He’s very talented, fast, sees the ice well, can both score and set up. I think that Marian is one of the best players in the NHL today.
- One other Russian, Artem Anisimov, plays on the Rangers. Perhaps that high-powered line will be the threesome of Frolov – Anisimov – Gaborik?
– And that, in my opinion, would make a very good line.
- For the last five seasons the main goaltender of the Rangers has been Swede Henrik Lundqvist — one of the best goaltenders in the world. Have you managed to score on him?
– Henrik is indeed a very high class goaltender. It’s just that right now I can’t remember if I scored on him or not. When I get to New York I’ll by all means ask him if he can remember (smiles).
- Rangers head coach John Tortorella is famous for not entirely standard behavior. Everyone remembers the episode, when during a game he flung a bottle at a fan.
– I don’t need to get used to it (laughs) [i.e. I'm already used to it]. The most important thing for me is that the coach lets me play.
– You’ve spent your whole NHL career on a team in the West. Now you’ve moved to the East, where your countrymen Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, and Malkin play. You understand that there will be heightened attention on you?
– I don’t think about inter-Russian competition (smiles). For me the main thing is to adapt to the new club as soon as possible and start to be of use to it. I’ll do everything possible to score a little more.
- By the way, didn’t you have the desire to sign a long-term contract, like Kovalchuk did?
– I was offered an agreement for several seasons, but the terms didn’t suit me.
- The pre-season still hasn’t begun in the NHL, are you planning to come to Russia?
– Most likely I won’t be able to get home this summer.
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