-- Alexander Frolov
was home on Thursday night. His new home.
The newest member of the New York Rangers
was at Madison Square Garden to speak with reporters for the first time in N.Y. since signing a one-year deal with the Blueshirts on Tuesday morning. Frolov will spend this coming season trying to rebound from a subpar 2009-10 campaign, when he scored only 19 goals for the Los Angeles Kings
"I think you always need to have something to improve," said Frolov, who has 168 goals in 536 NHL games since entering the League in 2002. "As an athlete, if you stop and you think you have nothing to prove, you're probably done as an athlete. Every time you go to practice or you step on the ice, you need to do your best and prove something to yourself."
It's that drive that saw Frolov decide to stay in North America. The Moscow native reportedly left a multi-year, multi-million dollar offer to play in the Kontinental Hockey League on the table and instead opted for the one-year contract with the Rangers. Frolov admitted, though, it took some time to opt for New York.
"It was kind of a hard decision for me to make," Frolov said. "It's been going on for probably two weeks. But I decided to stay here in the NHL and play here for New York. I'm really excited about it."
Indeed, it's a fresh start for Frolov, who is coming off a frustrating year that was highlighted by a rumored rift with Kings coach Terry Murray
. Frolov wasn't exactly willing to discuss what went down, but is eager to prove he can still be a prolific goal scorer in the NHL.
"It doesn't matter now what happened," Frolov said. "I'm ready to move on. I'm here as a Ranger right now and I'm looking forward to next season.
"It wasn't a great year for me. (But) I know what I'm capable of, and people around the League know what I can do. Sometimes, things don't go the way you want them to go. Sometimes, when you play a different role and you play on more like a checking line, it's kind of hard to produce 35-plus goals. But I think I know how to score and how to produce and I'm really looking forward to next season."
Of course, it's going to be interesting to see how Frolov performs under no-nonsense coach John Tortorella. The fiery bench boss has already spoken to Frolov on more than one occasion and is ultimately responsible for getting the most out of the Russian winger.
"We've talked a couple of times," Frolov said. "I've heard he's a pretty intense guy. But it's good for the team that he tries to push players. It's how it's supposed to be, I guess."
It likely won't be decided until the end of training camp as to whether Frolov will skate on the same line as world-class right wing Marian Gaborik
, but it's certainly an option for a team that experienced difficulty producing offense on a consistent basis last season.
"It's up to the head coach and the coaching staff," Frolov said. "But it's a real good possibility we can play together, and I'm looking forward to it."
Whether he skates alongside Gaborik or not, Rangers forward Sean Avery
is convinced Frolov will thrive on the big stage. Avery and Frolov played together in Los Angeles from 2003-07.
"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," Avery said. "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."
"We've known each other for a long time," Frolov said of being reunited with Avery. "We played together in L.A. and we were roommates. It's going to be fun."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL