VOORHEES, N.J. – Morgan Frost headed for his locker after Wednesday’s practice and knew he was going to face the music.
Dead giveaway? A bunch of writers perched near his stall at the Flyers Training Center.
One day after getting benched for Tuesday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, Frost quickly made it clear he had no problem with sitting one night.
He knows there’s an honest competition for jobs on the team’s top three lines and with rookies Bobby Brink and Tyson Foerster battling like crazy to get/stay in the lineup, nothing is a given.
“I kind of know the reason,” Frost said prior to a scheduled meeting with coach John Tortorella to air out the issue. “It’s the level of play. He said last night I have to play better. I didn’t play well the first two games (at Columbus, at Ottawa). It’s as simple as that.
“There are guys pushing for spots here. You look at guys like Tyson and Bobby, I think they’ve played very well. I understand it. I have to play better. I know it’s only two games. So I’m not going to get too worked up about it. I’m going to stay positive.”
This isn’t the first time (or the first coach) Frost has endured some friction with his play.
“I’ve had a ton of bumps in my road,” Frost laughed. “It’s not a big deal. I’ll be ready to go when I’m back in.”
Sitting one out is a bit surprising, given the way Frost finished up last season. Over the last 56 games, he actually led the team in points and completed the campaign with 19 goals.
But Frost didn’t have a particularly eye-catching preseason and his play in the first two games left something to be desired.
“I didn’t feel I was engaged enough,” the 24-year-old center said. “I look around the ice and then I wait to see what’s going to happen. It’s more anticipating and moving my feet. That’s when I make plays. I don’t think I did a very good job of that the first two games.”
While there were some rocky times last season, the timing of this benching this season caught some by surprise. Any concerns that it happened so early?
“It’s not what I would have liked to have happened,” Frost admitted. “I think I just have to show it with my play. When I’m on my game, I can be a contributor at this level and be a good player. I think it’s just consistency doing it every game. In Ottawa. . .I just wasn’t doing much out there. I understand the decision.”
Frost smiled when asked about whether last season’s performance carries any weight this season.
“I don’t think he (Tortorella) really cares what I did last season to be honest,” Frost said. “I didn’t play good the first two games and it is what it is. It’s way too early in the season to let it bother me much.”
Tortorella said he didn’t want to get into particulars about Frost’s level of play.
“I’m not going debate it publicly,” he said. “He just needs to play better. I don’t think ‘Frosty’ has played poorly. Other people have just played better. And so that’s a good thing.”
>Ristolainen getting closer
After missing the first three games due to an undisclosed injury, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was practicing again on Wednesday and expressed hope he will be back in the lineup soon.
It sounds like if Ristolainen gets clearance from the medical staff, he can give it a go against visiting Edmonton on Thursday.
“I’ll talk to the trainers and see where we’re at,” he said. “It’s frustrating. I believe it’s the third year in a row (that he missed) first few games, which makes it even more annoying.
“I just try to be patient and work on rehab. Hopefully I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
Ristolainen watched the Flyers move the puck impressively in Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Vancouver.
“It looked really good,” he said. “Looked like the Harlem Globetrotters. Fun to watch.”
Right wing Owen Tippett was off from practice for a “maintenance” day.