Michael Frolik blamed the Montreal Canadiens' organization

Published November 5, 2021 at 5:21 PM

To be quite honest, I had almost forgotten that forward Michael Frolik played with the Habs last year. He only donned the Habs jersey on eight occasions during the 2020-2021 season, picking up no points in the process.

When he signed with the Montreal organization, Frolik's goal was to be the 12th or 13th forward on the roster. However, when the Habs signed Corey Perry, his hopes began to diminish. He knew he wouldn't play often. He even blamed the Habs for his decline as a hockey player.

"It was very difficult. The confinement and the fact that everything was closed made it even worse. Some days were really long. I trained all season and didn't really understand why they signed me. At first they told me they didn't have room under the salary cap and that I was the only one they could take. I figured I could be the 12th or 13th forward that might have a chance if someone got hurt. That's why I did it. But two days later, they signed Corey Perry. So I knew my chances were reduced. And that's what happened in the finals. There were all kinds of shenanigans with the salary cap. They told me I couldn't make the roster... I still think that if they had really wanted to give me a chance, I could have made it to the finals somehow. I didn't really understand why they signed me. I guess you could say they ended my career..."

His time in Montreal kept him out of sync, in a way. He tried to make a move to the St. Louis Blues in September, but the Missouri team finally decided to offer James Neal a contract. He gave it his all, but it wasn't enough to convince the Blues.

"It was hard enough. Tryouts rarely work out. There were two of us, me and James Neal. He made it in the end, I didn't make it. We were each a little different, I was taken as a defensive guy more for shorthanded, James as an offensive guy on the power play. In the end, they picked him. But when I think about it, it all started with Montreal... I didn't play there for almost a whole year, so it's hard to pick up where we left off. I did everything I could to stay in the NHL, I gave it a shot until the last minute. My conscience is clear on that. I couldn't have done more."

The Czech forward is currently playing in Lausanne, Switzerland, with whom he has five points in seven games. Things are going pretty well for him right now.

"It's very nice here because I get a lot of ice time. I play on the power play, but also on the short-handed. I often finish my games with 20:00 on the ice. It's nice to feel the confidence of the coaches. It's a change from the last few seasons..."

With the absence of Shea Weber, Michael Frolik has an idea of the potential candidates for the captaincy in the future. His first choices? Brendan Gallagher and Josh Anderson.

"Gallagher has been with the team a long time. He knows the market. He works hard and is well respected internally. I think he would be a very good candidate. Otherwise, Josh Anderson is also a very committed player who has the respect of the other guys. He too would make a good captain."

Frolik was adamant that the Hab's failures are mostly due to the absence of Shea Weber. His leadership is colossal for the good of the Montreal team.

"Weber's situation really changes the game. A big guy like him could set the record straight when he needed to. This group is really tightly knit. All the guys are here for the right reasons. There's no problem internally, but Webby is a big piece."

Two players made a particular impression on him during his short time in town, Shea Weber and Carey Price.

On Carey Price:

"Carey Price comes in number one, obviously. What he's done in the playoffs is just unbelievable. We knew that no matter how tough it was, Pricer was going to make the save and get us out of trouble. It was a great feeling. In fact, I've never seen a goalie perform like that in my life. He was in a pretty special place. So calm and collected..."

On Shea Weber:

"Shea Weber also had a big impact on me. He was a really good captain. In the locker room, he always found the words and he knew how to make everyone feel comfortable. Having played against him a lot when I was playing out west, he's clearly the toughest defenseman to play against in my opinion. And I've seen a lot of them, backs!"

He has a beef with the organization, obviously, but he has nothing but good things to say about his former teammates, which is very positive. The Habs have this habit of frustrating their former properties. A never-ending pattern... The NHL is still a business, you have to expect all eventualities.

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