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Avery happy to have Frolov back as teammate

by Brian Compton
NEW YORK --  It was Sean Avery who helped lure Alexander Frolov to New York last week, so it was no surprise to see No. 16 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night to welcome his new teammate as Frolov spoke with reporters in the Big Apple for the first time since signing his one-year deal with the Rangers.

Avery and Frolov are reunited after being teammates with the Los Angeles Kings from 2003-07 before Avery was dealt to New York. Once roommates in L.A., they're both eager to help the Rangers get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after failing to qualify on the very last day of the 2009-10 regular season.

Avery, who had 11 goals and 20 assists in 69 games for the Rangers last season, also spoke with the media on Thursday night.

Q: Having played with Frolov before, how do you think he'll fit in here in New York?

Avery: I think he's going to fit in real nice here. I played with him for three or four years in L.A., and he's a big-city guy. He's a guy who'll be able to handle the pressure of The Garden and he's going to score some goals, for sure. He's a big guy and he gives us a little bit of size up front. He's got great hands. When he scores, he scores pretty goals. He'll score big goals, too.

Q: After missing out for that final playoff spot against the Philadelphia Flyers, how difficult was it to watch them go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final? Did you ever say to yourself, "That could have been us?"

Avery: I think with our League, definitely. A team has the ability, if they come together at the right time, to really go on a run. They just got hot. They didn't play so great the last month, but they got in and something turned on inside that team, because they just took off. They almost did it. They didn't get it done, but you could see how close it was.

Q: Where do you think things stand with this team as it tries to get back to the playoffs?

Avery: I think on a personal level, I've got to come back and definitely make sure that we're playing hard. I think that's going to be the biggest thing. Make sure that I'm playing hard, make sure the team's playing hard. I'll be ready.

Q: Is Alex the type of player this team needed after the offensive inconsistencies you guys experienced last season?

Avery:  Yeah. I think part of the problem with us not scoring goals was just not working hard enough. When you also have a guy that can score, it's going to make a big difference. If the team plays hard around him, he's going to score probably a lot more goals than he's scored in the past. He's going to play well for us.

Q: How excited are you about the impact he can have on this team up front and possibly playing with Marian Gaborik?

Avery: You guys are sorting out lines already? Listen, he's going to score big goals. That's the most important thing with a goal scorer. Sometimes, they score goals but they're not big goals. 'Fro's' scored some big goals and he's got nerves of steel, which is always nice as a goal scorer.

Q: Do you feel he has something to prove after the way things went in Los Angeles last season?

Avery: He took a pay cut. It was his free-agent year. This is one of the premier scorers in the League. I'm sure he's going to be ready to have a big year and help the team win. From a personal standpoint, I'm sure he wants to make some money.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL 

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