About three weeks ago the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks traded a couple young forwards who probably need a change of address. The Panthers sent Michael Frolik to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Jack “Crash” Skille. The Blackhawks liked the skill and goal scoring potential that Frolik has, while the Panthers felt that they needed the physical play that Crash brings. In a discussion with Alexa from Queen Crash that started with each of us wanting to find out more about the players, we decided to do a little Q & A. Make sure you check out her site Queen Crash. She Loves the Hawks, loves Jack, and I think she likes the Panthers now too.
First we’ll start off with my questions to her about Crash.
1. When you first heard that Jack Skille was being traded to the Florida Panthers, what went through your mind? Surprise, confusion, disappointment or pleased that he was getting a chance somewhere else? Why did you have the reaction you had. When I first found out that Jack had been traded, I was actually on the Metra on my way home. My friend Hannah called me and said “Bad news…” I instantly knew that Jack was gone, and I will admit that I started to get all misty eyed. It always sucks when your favorite player gets traded, especially when you’re like me and have yet to meet him in person, but overall, I’m happy knowing that Jack will have more playing opportunities in Florida and wish him the best of luck. He’s still my favorite after all.
2. Skille was a 7th round pick from 2005, the same year that Sidney Crosby was drafted. It took him five years to get a chance at what ultimately was 3rd and 4th line minutes. Was he overrated? Was there too much pressure, or is he just not that good? I feel like Jack really is a good player, but he’s a good player that has had to contend with even better players in front of him like Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa. I also think that Jack is one of those players that is extremely hard on himself and lets that frustration affect his game. Hopefully, Crash will find his offensive touch in Florida, and I’ll never have to hear another sexual innuendo about how he can’t finish ever again.
3. What kind of style will we see Jack play? As a Hawk fan myself, I have my own opinions, but what do you see in him? I call Crash an energy player. He’s the guy that zooms around the ice like it’ll melt if he stops, and I appreciate that since I swear the Hawks sometimes play like they’re lacking energy and it drives me nuts. He’s also pretty physical, so I would call him gritty as well.
4. What’s been the reaction in Chicago to the trade? There seems to be a lot of people who are glad he left. Why the angst? Let’s face it, when you’re a Chicago athlete you have high expectations to live up to. We’re a sports town that usually only focuses on how well a player, no matter what sport they play, produces points-wise. Jack was not living up to the fans’ or his draft status’s standards, which resulted in a lot of people celebrating when he left. Hopefully, he won’t experience that same fan dissatisfaction in the Sunshine State.
5. Seems like we traded for Jack because of his style of play. We’ve lacked a physical presence. Can he give us that? Crash will most definitely give you a physical edge. He’s not afraid to throw his weight around when necessary, something that wasn’t noticed a lot here in Chicago because of the heavy hitters that overshadow him such as Seabrook and Brouwer.
6. I’ve started calling him “Crash” because he hits. But he also seems to fall and “crash” into the boards a lot. Am I seeing things, or is he just pent up with nervous energy, and not such a great skater? Originally, the Chicago fans nicknamed Jack “Crash” because of his uncanny habit to crash into and dislodge the net several times in one game. He does it a lot. As for the falling part, like I said before, Jack is a fast skater. I think his feet just get away from him sometimes.
7. Why should we like Jack? Jack is the epitome of “fan-friendly.” He’ll sign autographs, pose for pictures, and do just about anything to make sure that his fans are happy. He’s a very smiley person with a great personality and a sense of humor that makes everyone around him smile. To put it simply, Jack’s charisma and approachable personality are what make him such an easy player to favor despite his lack of a scoring touch.
8. Will you miss Jack and why? I’ll for sure miss his charming personality and infectious smile (gosh don’t I sound corny) but I will also miss the energy and passion that he brought to the ice. I don’t care what the haters say, Jack always left it all on the ice, even if he couldn’t score 95% of the time. He was, and still is, my favorite player because of his drive and passion, not because he could score a hat trick every game or something like that. Please, take care of him in Florida.
Now we turn the tables as Alexa asks me about Michael Frolik:
1. Most of the Blackhawks fans I know were pretty excited to hear that we got Frolik in exchange for Jack. What does he bring to the game of hockey that makes him someone worth cheering for? Frolik has a lot of skill that I think has been untapped. He’s fast, he has a good shot and he’s a goal scorer. He’s a likeable kid too. He’s still young and has a lot of growing to do and for some reason, he may not know just how much potential he really has. When he gets on a hot streak, you’re going to really like him.
2. How do you think Frolik will adjust to playing under big names like Toews, Kane, Sharp, etc…? He has never played with high profile players. Playing with David Booth and Stephen Weiss for most of his time here, he was forced into a first line role, which is really not suited for him. He’s a good second line player, but he needs to have some of that swagger that the Hawks have to bring out his potential. I think that playing with the Hawks will force him to be a better hockey player. Or he’ll shrink like a dead flower.
3. I’ve started calling Frolik “Fro Fro” and “Frodo” because he looks like he could win a lead role in Lord of the Rings with those eyebrows of his. Did he have a fan nickname in Florida? No nicknames that I was aware of. Kinda dull down here with that to be honest. Those eyebrows are pretty special aren’t they. Unfortunately other players seemed to get the attention from the girls instead of Michael. Guys like Chris Higgins and Mike Santorelli. Maybe Chicago will take to him more.
4. What kind of style of play can we expect from Michael? Well I almost hate to say it, but I don’t think he’s really built for Western Conference hockey.I find that the Western Conference plays a tougher more grittier style than the East. It’s a style that I love to watch, but the East just doesn’t play that way. It seems to me that Frolik will avoid the high traffic areas. Which concerns me as a Hawk fan cause I’m not sure how’s he’s going to handle the Eisenhower after home games.
5. In the locker room, what kind of personality does Frolik have? Is he the quiet guy like Hossa, the prankster like Sharp, or the I’m-going-to-talk-until-your-ears-bleed guy like Skille? Where does he fit in? From what I know, and it’s not too much, I think he’s a pretty quiet guy and I have never heard of any pranks, jokes or crazy things that he’s done. I’ve been to the dressing room a few times after games, and I have never seen him there. So he must have ducked out or was in the shower.
6. Why should Chicago fans like Frolik? If he doesn’t score soon, you’re gonna be frustrated with him. He hasn’t scored since December 17th which is a long time. He’s had droughts like this before and it’s frustrating to see. Hopefully playing with better players, and I truly mean that, he should blossom. He can score in bunches, and when he does you’ll love him. If he doesn’t get on the board soon, his confidence is going to be lost. It’s too bad cause he is a nice kid and seems to try hard, but he’s played for two years in a system that has not really exposed his talents. Hopefully Chicago can do that.
7. Are you going to miss Frolik? Why or why not? He wasn’t scoring, and he wasn’t progressing. I think a change of scenery was needed but I don’t think based on how he performed this season that we’ll miss him. That’s not a dig at him either. I think his game got stale because of the talent, or lack of around him. He’s scored 21 goals in each of the last two seasons prior to this one. So he can score. With a better team like the Hawks he should score more. I can’t say if he’ll be consistently at 30, but if he’s on the second line getting 25-30 you should be happy with that. He most likely loves being outta here and having a shot at the playoffs.
8. Who do you think got the better end of the trade deal, Florida or Chicago? Two really different players. Frolik is more of a skill guy and a skater. Jack is more physical, something that the Panthers desperately need. But they also need someone to score goals. I think this is a tryout for both players. The next few weeks will determine their future. I think that if Frolik can learn how to play Western Conference Hockey, you might have the upper hand on the deal. Not saying that I don’t like Skille, I do. But he brings a different game. With more ice time he could flourish. Based on potential, I would have to say that if he ever starts to score, the Hawks have the better deal with Frolik. As I type this however, Crash has just gone down with an ankle injury and will be out indefinitely. Adjust this last comment as you wish, but as of right now, unless Crash scores 10 goals on crutches, Hawks win.
Thanks for reading and thanks to Alexa for wanting to do this. hopefully we each have a little bit better idea of who these guys are!
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