I just had a quick interview with Dean Lombardi regarding Alexander Frolov’s status. Again, I have requested that Frolov be made available for an interview before the game. I’ll certainly let you know if that does or doesn’t happen…
Question: Terry indicated that when he tries to talk to Frolov, he’s not getting any response. Have you talked with him?
LOMBARDI: “Have I talked to Frolov?’’
Question: In the last few days, I mean.
LOMBARDI: “My last meeting with him was probably before the Minnesota game, so a couple weeks ago.’’
Question: So what is your take on this? Terry is unhappy with his game and indicates that he can’t get through to him. What’s your view?
LOMBARDI: “Well, I don’t think it’s the first time that a player who hasn’t been performing has been taken out of the lineup. It’s either, you can cut down on their ice time or they’re not going to dress. There’s two issues here. When a player with ability is not performing to the best of his ability, it’s not only him that you’re trying to get going. You’ve got to be aware of the message it sends to the rest of your team. Is this going to be acceptable? This is what I think a coach confronts, there on the front lines. Everyone is seeing it, but mainly the teammates are seeing it. And if that’s going to be accepted, then they’re going to think it’s acceptable. And it’s not.
“So those are the two issues that we deal with. I think that when a coach makes a decision like this, which I fully support, that’s what he is looking at. We tried everything to get him going. As Murph said, he himself has tried talking to him numerous times. If he’s not going to respond, you have to be aware of the message it sends to the rest of your team.’’
Question: When Terry says that he’s not the first coach to deal with this, and you’re not the first GM to deal with this, that sounds like a substantial problem. How do you deal with it going forward?
LOMBARDI: “When you sit a player out, and it’s a player who should be one of your best players, it’s safe to say you’ve probably tried everything. This is not something that was a knee-jerk reaction. That’s the first thing. Then, like I said, you’re worried about the message it sends to the rest of the team, because you want those guys to play hard.
“As far as how you handle it, you see how he responds, and then we make our decisions accordingly. We’re going in the right direction. He’s either going to get on board or we’ll go in another direction with him. It’s as simple as that. I like a lot of the things I’m seeing, with what we’re trying to establish here. Get or board, or there’s another way too. But like I said, this is not a knee-jerk reaction.’’