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KING-DUCK REPORT

Frolov Welcomes Big Expectations

September 26, 2003|Mike Bresnahan and Chris Foster | Times Staff Writers

Safe to say Alexander Frolov is better off now than he was a year ago, when he showed up at his first King training camp without skates, without equipment, pretty much without a clue.

He was a 20-year-old rookie, fresh off a breakout season in the Russian Super League, not really sure what to expect of himself or his new surroundings.

A year later, a year wiser, it is everyone else who expects something from Frolov.

The left wing was sixth in NHL rookie scoring last season with 14 goals and 17 assists, and he is entrenched on the Kings' second line with Ziggy Palffy and Jozef Stumpel.

"Every time you do something, people expect you to do it every time better and better," Frolov said. "I expect myself to do better this season."

Frolov was unfamiliar with the strain and drain of an NHL schedule, in particular games on consecutive nights.

"He's in much, much better condition than before," King Coach Andy Murray said. "We're optimistic."

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Center Bryan Smolinski, sent from the Kings to the Ottawa Senators at last season's trade deadline, said it was an easy decision to re-sign with Ottawa for four years and $10 million.

"I came to an organization that wanted to win," Smolinski told the Ottawa Sun. "I liked the guys in the room and I like the direction this team has taken. This is my best chance to win a Stanley Cup and it wasn't hard to see that."

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The Kings flew to Las Vegas on Thursday after spending two nights on a mini-retreat at the 1,000-acre ranch of billionaire owner Philip Anschutz.

Among the activities in which the players took part: pheasant hunting, fly-fishing, cattle herding and skeet shooting.

"It was good to have some fun in that type of environment," Murray said.

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Jason Allison (concussion) and Adam Deadmarsh (concussion, groin) continued to skate without contact. Neither player has been cleared to skate with contact, but Murray has been hoping Deadmarsh will play Tuesday in a preseason game at Phoenix. ... The Kings play Saturday in Las Vegas against the Colorado Avalanche. The arena ice at the MGM Grand Hotel had been slightly damp, but the condition is not expected to be a problem for the game.

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Mighty Duck captain Steve Rucchin will make his exhibition season debut tonight, when the Ducks play Florida at the Arrowhead Pond.

Rucchin had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Aug. 30. He began practicing full time with the team this week.

"It's time to play some hockey," Rucchin said. "I might not be at 100%. But that's why you play exhibition games."

Rucchin, who had 20 goals and 58 points last season, said he has not felt any pain or discomfort, "beyond the normal healing process."

Rob Niedermayer, Samuel Pahlsson, Cam Severson, Vitaly Vishnevski and Ruslan Salei will sit out tonight's game. Sergei Fedorov, Vaclav Prospal, Sandis Ozolinsh and Kurt Sauer and Rucchin will be scratches Saturday in San Jose.

Coach Mike Babcock said that he wanted to get a good look at rookies Joffrey Lupul and Ryan Getzlaf, as well as second-year players Alexei Smirnov and Stanislav Chistov.

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The Ducks announced that XPRS (1090) will carry 58-60 games this season. Of the remaining games, XTRA (690) will pick up 20.

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