Flyers coach Berube wants Meszaros to be more physical

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Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Andrej Meszaros has been an expensive healthy scratch for most of the season.

The Flyers’ defenseman is earning $5.5 million this season _ his cap hit is $4 million _ and he is in the final year of his contract. That’s a lot of money for someone who was scratched in 20 of the first 36 games.

After a five-game absence, Meszaros will return to the lineup Monday against visiting Minnesota, replacing the injured Erik Gustafsson.

Flyers coach Craig Berube said he wants the 6-foot-2, 223-pound Meszaros to be more physical and “more competitive in puck battles.” Berube called Meszaros a “good player when he does that. He can get up the ice and he can shoot.”

Added Berube after the morning skate:  “I don’t know if it goes back to last year with his injuries and stuff, (but) I just want him to be more competitive when he’s in the lineup.”

Meszaros, 28, played the first five games, then was benched in six of the next seven contests. He then played three games, was benched for nine, played in seven, and then was benched for five.

Playing sporadically is “tough mentally,” Meszaros said before the game. “…I haven’t played for a while and I just to make sure I get myself ready and go (hard) from the start.”

Last season, Meszaros played in just 11 games because of injuries. He underwent shoulder surgery last April to repair a torn left rotator cuff.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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