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Saturday, January 14, 2012
Frolik laments missed chances in loss

By Jesse Rogers

DETROIT -- When you’re snake-bit, you’re snake-bit.

That’s being kind to Chicago Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik. He wasn’t so kind to himself after the Hawks 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Frolik was on the ice for the winning goal by Todd Bertuzzi, who may or may not have been his man, but Frolik could have helped himself and his team much earlier in the game. He missed a near open net chance in the first period after a puck eluded Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard’s stick.

“I just saw the wide-open net and I thought for sure it was going to go in,” Frolik said shaking his head afterwards. “He just slid over and hit his toe. Have to make sure that goes in. I don’t even know how he saved it.”

Defenseman Nick Leddy threw a puck up ice from his own blue-line which made it to the end boards and out to the right of Howard. Howard went to play the puck with his stick but it bounced over and right to Frolik. The empty net closed quickly as Howard made the left pad save.

Michael Frolik, Todd Bertuzzi
Michael Frolik took responsibility for his role in the Blackhawks' overtime loss on Saturday.

“Those chances happen once in a while,” Frolik said. “The good goal scorers put it in and I didn’t.”

Frolik was talking about much more than one chance early in this January game. He’s been struggling for a long time. He has just five goals in 45 games now and none in his last 14. And he’s had chances on every line with every sort of player. The puck is just not going in.

“Someone with confidence would have figured that he had to put it in there, some way,” his coach Joel Quenneville said. “When you’re not, the net is a little tighter [smaller].”

And with Frolik missing Bertuzzi sneaking by him for the winning goal, it completed a tough afternoon for the struggling Hawks forward.

Hossa on point

The Hawks tied the game with 52 seconds remaining in regulation when Jonathan Toews tipped a Marian Hossa shot from his position on the point. They had an extra attacker on the ice for Corey Crawford and the play, off the face-off, worked to perfection. Hossa’s ability to get the puck on net from the blue-line shouldn’t be overlooked.

Hossa plays the point often during 5-on-3 and 4-on-3 power plays but never during normal 5-on-4 time. Maybe he should.

“I like to shoot the puck..[but] we have good point shot guys,” Hossa said. “I’m comfortable where I am.”

He might be only half-right about that. The Hawks point men haven’t exactly excelled on the power play. Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Nick Leddy, for example, have one combined power play goal. Hossa has seven plus a huge assist Saturday with a deadly aimed point shot.

“I know he gets his shots through and he sees plays,” Quenneville admitted. “Play recognition helps.”

That’s another reason Hossa should be back there. If the shot isn’t there his “play recognition” is better than most which should give a struggling Hawks power play a better chance.

Slappers

• Jonathan Toews had just one shot on net, his tip-in on the tying goal. Toews did win 65 percent of his faceoffs.

Viktor Stalberg led the Hawks with five shots on net, Patrick Kane had two but none through the first 40 minutes. Kane had several attempts blocked early on.

Quotable

“We did an incredible job to come back. Everything was against us in that sense and we did a good job to get the first one and then the second one.-Steve Montador, who admitted the Hawks played poorly getting down 2-0.