WASHINGTON – Three little words might help Morgan Frost stick with the Flyers this time around.
The Flyers’ rookie center, who was called up early this season and then sent down, knows exactly what he has to do to stay in the NHL.
“Move my feet.’’
Of course, it’s a little more complex than that but the point is, Frost is aware he has to put in an intense effort every game to stay at this level.
Frost, who was brought up on Friday to spell an ailing Joel Farabee (flu), hopes he can stick around a while, particularly during this stretch run when the Flyers try to secure a playoff bid.
“It’s making sure I’m competing more,’’ he said before Saturday night’s game at Capital One Arena. “Making sure I move my feet. Just being engaged with the plays with the puck.
“Gordo (Phantoms coach Scott Gordon) mentioned to me when I’m engaged, I’m getting more chances to touch the puck, which is what I want to have. In general, it’s just making sure I’m engaged.’’
Originally, Frost was called up on Nov. 19 and made a big splash by scoring goals in his first two NHL games.
But then he went scoreless in the next 16 games and was sent back to the Phantoms during the Flyers’ holiday trip in California.
“A little bit right away but then I think you get comfortable when you realize it’s still pro hockey,’’ he said. “It’s still really tough down there (in Allentown).
“Sometimes you don’t have as much space. I’m happy to be playing pro hockey as a rookie so obviously you want to be in the NHL but it’s not the worst thing to be in the AHL.’’
With the Phantoms he has eight goals and 20 points in 30 games.
He played in the AHL All-Star Game, so things have been heading in the right direction.
Gordon’s instruction has been helpful.
“I think he has a good idea of what every particular player needs to do to get up to the next level,’’ Frost said. “I think he addresses that with each individual. He communicates with what he wants.’’
Against the Caps, Frost was scheduled to center a line between James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Pitlick.
“Day by day for now,’’ said Frost of his thinking in terms of staying around when Farabee returns. “You try not to think about that stuff too much. Play the game tonight, think about it tomorrow.’’
Vigneault said Frost was playing OK and then Gordon pointed out the need for more consistency.
“In talking with Chuck (general manager Chuck Fletcher), I felt we needed help on one of our power-play units,’’ Vigneault said. “He’s a skilled player that got a taste of the NHL.
“His name came up. The fact that he’s been here before and knows a little bit about what we’re trying to do on the power play might be able to help us out.’’
If Frost can stick around, it might be a bonus.
“I hope he plays well tonight,’’ Vigneault said. “The whole team is kind of on a one-game-at-a-time mentality, which you have to be at this time of year.
“He should be excited. He should bring energy to the game tonight.’’
Vigneault reported Farabee had a “good day’’ on Saturday and is putting some weight back on. He left the door open for Monday against Florida.
“He started eating again, which is a good sign,’’ Vigneault said. “I expect him to skate tomorrow and we’ll see how he feels on Monday.
Goaltender Carter Hart will skate on Sunday and he’s considered possible to start against the Panthers.
>Gostisbehere needs time for conditioning
Gostisbehere was scratched against the Capitals. Vigneault gave the indication the defenseman may have come back a little early from knee surgery, which might have led to some frustration at practice on Friday.
“I felt that after last game, with the injury he had, we hadn’t given him enough time to practice, to get conditioning and timing back.’’
Vigneault said this not a setback and “Ghost’’ could be ready for Florida.
>Giroux back on wing
The Claude Giroux at center experiment was suspended at least for one game as “G’’ returned to left wing with Sean Couturier at center and Jake Voracek on right wing.
Giroux was trying to end a career-high-tying 13-game goal-less streak.
“I just felt that in talking with my staff, ‘G’ is trying real hard, competing real hard but there’s no doubt needs him to help us defensively. . .a big part of his game is being able to contribute offensively.
“I felt that putting those guys together for tonight’s game would be beneficial. It seems that everybody who plays with ‘Coots’ finds a way to get going. I think he’s calling himself ‘Dr. Coots.’ Hopefully it continues.’’