Maybe Frost got the message this time

Morgan Frost

      PHILADELPHIA – Maybe the message finally is getting through.

      Prior to Thursday’s benching, Morgan Frost had been scratched on two other occasions this season – once for six games and once for three games.

      On those particular times, head coach John Tortorella apparently didn’t feel he had to go to the player and explain to him what he wasn’t doing right.

      In other words, “you’re a big boy, you figure it out.”

      Well, things changed a bit after the game against Columbus the other night.

      That is, Frost sought out the coach to find out what the problem might be.

      When asked about this at Friday’s practice, Tortorella’s face lit up ever so slightly.

      “We’ve been very honest,” Tortorella said. “Met with ‘Frosty’ today again. I’ll give this to you because I want to. . .because it’s a big step for him.

      “He came to me for a meeting because of the situation, the way it was, there was no practice after the travel. I couldn’t get the guys face-to-face. So I talked to him on the plane and I talked to him on the phone and let him know what was going on with the lineup.”

      There was no idle chatter. They got right down to business.

      And Frost responded on Saturday by recording a goal and an assist in the Flyers’ 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames.

      “I’ve talked to him on the plane and on the phone for reasons. Today (Friday) was a real good, honest conversation of what’s happening now and just kind of big picture stuff. He’s the one who wanted to meet.

      “I was thrilled that he came in and wanted to talk. He gave me some of his thoughts and not agree (with Tortorella). That’s a huge step for me with Frosty. Coming in and saying, ‘this is what I think.’ It’s so important that players do that.”

      This has happened with a couple other players, most notably Travis Sanheim. There was a clear-the-air meeting and now Sanheim is having arguably the best season of his career.

      “It creates a little bit of a path for him and I as we try to go through this,” Tortorella said.

      Frost experienced a similar situation last season when it felt like he didn’t have the coach’s complete trust. Nevertheless, he put together what amounted to a pretty encouraging campaign, posting 19 goals/46 points and only missed one game.

      This season he’s only played in 28 of the team’s first 39 games with just five goals/11 points.

      The 24-year-old center, who was a first-round pick (27th overall) in the 2017 draft, has now played 186 NHL games and can no longer be considered a “prospect.”

      There’s a sense that if Frost and Tortorella can’t stay on the same page, there’s the possibility the player can have a new address this season.

      With about two months to go until the trade deadline in March, it will be interesting to see how Frost responds to this latest “lay it all on the table” talk. Tortorella is known for his blunt candor and Frost might have to make a few concessions in his game to make this new pact work.

      Plus, injured center Noah Cates should be back from a lengthy injury absence in short order, so that gives Tortorella even more options should Frost fall into disfavor again.

      Frost said the conversation was very productive.

      “Yeah, I had some things I kind of wanted to get off my chest,” Frost said after the game. “It was a good back and forth. Nothing crazy but I think just to go in there and speak my mind and hear his thoughts and kind of hash everything out was good.

      “I just wanted to come and play today with energy. He’s always going to be honest and let you know where you stand, what he needs from you. I think sometimes that’s all it takes, go into his office, he respects that. Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to do. I just wanted to say what was on my mind.”

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About Wayne Fish 2472 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.