Why John Tortorella fits the Flyers urgent “win-now” plan
According to multiple notable sources including Kevin Weekes, John Tortorella has been offered the head coaching position with the Philadelphia Flyers pending further negotiations. Nothing is official, but all signs point to Torts in Philly.
Told that Tortorella is meeting with the Flyers tomorrow to discuss the contract. So we’ll see where that goes. https://t.co/od4tngY5oX— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 15, 2022
The Flyers First Step
Going into this offseason it was clear that the first step in a successful retool starts with the coaching hire. If they would have fumbled the coaching search it would’ve started them in a hole that they can’t climb out of in my opinion. So, when the reports came out that the search was boiled down to Trotz and Tortorella I was ecstatic.
Whether you wanted a retool or a full rebuild, clearly these two candidates were the fit for what the Flyers wanted to do this season. The recurring problems with this organization lately have been the same and it starts with a lack of accountability. At times even while we were losing the locker room had a country club, “everybody is safe” kind of feel to me.
John Tortorella notoriously snuffs this out. If he does anything well, it’s getting a team to play as a sound unit and step up to competition above them. Their advantage is they will have an edge, a chip on the shoulder, with a rising Carter Hart behind them to fully maximize his system.
I’ve complained constantly about the same players routinely showing quit on their faces during stretches of adversity. I have also complained for two seasons about the forwards blatantly cheating on defense up into the neutral zone. I’m hoping those days are numbered as of now.
Tortorella has had 4 head coaching stints prior to this one dating back to 2000. Most recently with Columbus and also with New York, Vancouver, and Tampa Bay where he won a Stanley Cup in 2004.
He has an all-time record of 673-541-132 and crafts his team for a playoff-style of hockey. In 2019, his Columbus Blue Jackets swept the Tampa Bay Lightning after they had the best record in the regular season. The Tampa Bay Lightning have yet to lose a playoff series since.
Tortorella is also familiar with the pressure of a big-name market. New York and Vancouver are as high pressure of a market as they come in the NHL and nobody’s more prepared for the pressure of this job than Tortorella (well, maybe Trotz).
Cam Atkinson admitted this team plays soft in his exit interview and has said nothing but positives about Tortorella. Atkinson credits the responsible, gritty side to his game to his time in Columbus.
The three main critiques of John Tortorella in Philadelphia have been as follows:
- His cycle only lasts about 2-3 years before his message runs dry in the locker room.
- He will play veterans over a young gun looking for a chance to break through to the NHL.
- Barry Trotz was the other option and he’s far more effective.
These are absolutely fair critiques, but you have to take a full view of what the Flyers want to accomplish.
The Philadelphia Flyers want to win at all costs and that starts with a hopeful retool that I’m not fully confident in. With that being said, Tortorella is known for turning a ship around quickly and making players perform above their level while the message holds. They aren’t worried about the backend, they want immediate success.
This is also attributed to the young players’ argument. The Flyers don’t want to sit around and wait for someone to develop into a piece, the foot is on the gas. Whether or not that is the best decision for the franchise, the Flyers want to have a Tortorella-led team make it to the playoffs at any cost.
Barry Trotz was the other main option in our search and was my preferred selection. I get the sense there are more moving parts to this than “the Flyers picked wrong!”
Trotz wanted to transition into a managerial role and met with the Flyers more than three times during this search. Nothing that was said has been revealed, so I’m not going to blindly dunk on the Flyers for something they may not have control over. I will feel otherwise if proven wrong.
Long story short you may not be a fan of John Tortorella, but he’s tailor-made for a market like Philadelphia. His players speak highly of him and will run through a wall if he asks. He also handles the media in a way Philadelphians should enjoy.
John Tortorella after one week with these Philadelphia reporters. pic.twitter.com/NSRp0Nxckf— TLY (@TheLibertyYell) June 15, 2022
This was the first step of what needs to be a surprising offseason. I like the choice, I’m just very impatient to see how the Draft and Free Agency play out.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Flyers