Philadelphia Flyers’ head coach John Tortorella is known for acerbic comments on the media, on opponents, on anthem debates, and even on his own players. The latter is what he’s in the news for now. On Thursday, after the Flyers’ 4-3 road loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday, Tortorella roasted Philadelphia center Morgan Frost, saying “I thought he was brutal for most of the game. …I don’t think his game was anywhere near where it should be for most of the game.”
The really remarkable thing about that is that it came after Frost scored a pretty third-period goal, and did so in an arena in Toronto where he spent a lot of time as a kid (his dad, Canadian radio personality Andy Frost, was the Leafs’ public address announcer from 1999-2016):
— Flyers News Repost (@Flyers_Buzz) December 22, 2022
And in his own comments after this game, the third-straight one in which he had scored, Frost was pleased with his play:
“I’m probably playing my best hockey right now… It’s probably the best I’ve played in my pro career. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
The gulf between “It’s probably the best I’ve played in my pro career” and “I thought he was brutal for most of the game” is quite a divide. Of course, there’s a lot more to a player’s on-ice contributions than just goals and assists, and Frost certainly wasn’t perfect in this game. He wasn’t alone there, though, winding up ninth on the Flyers in terms of expected goals for/expected goals against (38.6 percent). So it’s quite something to see him the one roasted this way by Tortorella.
But Tortorella does have a history of going hard at younger (Frost is 23 and in his fourth NHL season, although all of his seasons before this also included time in the AHL) players, especially those who are more known for offense than defense. In some cases, that approach has paid off. He’s certainly not beloved by everyone he’s coached, though, and Frost may wind up in that crowd if he keeps getting roasted this way.