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Flyers’ Coach Not Happy with Rasmus Ristolainen



Ryan Ellis Rasmus Ristolainen, Philadelphia Flyers

Defenseman Rasmus Ristiolainen is in new coach John Tortorella’s doghouse.

Ristolainen, who late last season signed a five-year extension that carries an annual $5.1 million cap hit, was benched in the Philadelphia Flyers’ last game, a 2-1 win Saturday in Ottawa.

“He just hasn’t met them,” Tortorella said after Monday’s practice, when asked about his expectations for the 6-foot-4, 221-pound pound Ristolainen. “He needs to play better. I’m not going to go that much deeper into it, but I don’t think he’s played well enough. He’s going to get another crack at it. But in everything about his game, I think he needs to be better.”

Ristolainen left the locker room immediately after practice and was not available to comment. He missed the first six games because of an unspecified injury, which hasn’t affected his play, per Tortorella.

The Finland native has no points and is minus-4 in four games, and he played 14:06 in his last game, a 5-2 loss in Toronto.

Tortorella said he had “no idea” if Ristolainen would play Tuesday visiting St. Louis, which has lost six straight heading into Monday’s game in Boston.

If he does enter the lineup, Egor Zamula figures to be a healthy scratch.

Tortorella liked the Flyers’ defensive effort in the victory in Ottawa.

“I thought we had more forechecking in that game than we’ve had in a lot of others,” he said. “I thought a lot of that came from a lot of our depth guys.”

He mentioned Morgan Frost, Nick Deslauriers, Tanner Laczynski, Wade Allison, and Lukas Sedlak.

“I still think we make it hard on ourselves with our turnovers,” Tortorella said. “We had some needless turnovers, but I’m not going to be critical of the team. It’s things we have to work on, and I just thought our team played really hard. They didn’t give in toward the end.  With the goalie pulled, (the Flyers were) blocking shots and doing anything they could possibly do to win the game.

“I thought there were some good signs there.”

Offensive woes

Tortorella said the Flyers’ lack of firepower “is a concern. It’s been a concern of the organization here for a little bit, and will be.”

Philly scored a total of four goals on their recent three-game road trip.

“It’s a dogfight for us every night, because we’re just not going to fill the net,” Tortorella said. “I appreciate how they’ve all handled themselves and scrap and bite and do everything they could” to beat Ottawa.


The Flyers will wear their reverse retro jerseys in eight games this season, starting Tuesday against Craig Berube’s Blues. … Based on practice, the Flyers will use the same lineup as the last game. That would mean Frost is in, and Kieffer Bellows is out. … James van Riemsdyk skated by himself with a protection on his left hand. He recently had finger surgery and is expected to miss another four or five weeks. … Members of several military branches skated with the Flyers at the end of practice.

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