3 Takeaways from John Tortorella’s solid first press conference as Philadelphia Flyers head coach
“It’s the Philadelphia Flyers. That’s all I have to say.”
If you thought John Tortorella wasn’t going to bring the same fire and passion to his first press conference as Flyers head coach that he does when he’s coaching, you thought wrong. I’m not ready to hand out awards for a press conference (over Zoom) in the middle of June, but if there were awards, “Torts” would’ve certainly earned one today.
We all know the first press conference for head coaches doesn’t really mean anything at the end of the day. Just look at Nick Sirianni’s first as Eagles head coach. If the fan base and national media could fire a head coach from Twitter, they would’ve then.
Regardless, let’s talk about my three takeaways from Tortorella’s first press conference.
Tortorella addressed the way he coaches players, especially the younger ones
There’s always been a consensus about John Tortorella and how he deals with his players, especially the younger ones. So it didn’t take long for the question about that to come up today, and I thought Tortorella answered it beautifully.
He talked about how, admittedly, there have been times where he’s caught himself over-coaching a player in the past and how every coach does it. He reiterated that with the Flyers, he’s going to let players be themselves on the ice but quickly made it known that it’s going to be a “two-way street.”
Basically, Torts said, “Hey, I’ll let you be this offensively skilled forward and do what you do, but you have to show me and your teammates you can be relied on going the other way.”
We have “older” players in Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, Kevin Hayes, Scott Laughton, Ryan Ellis, and James van Riemsdyk (hopefully not for long), but the majority of this team is pretty young.
- Travis Konecny – 25 years old
- Joel Farabee – 22 years old
- Morgan Frost – 23 years old
- Travis Sanheim – 26 years old
- Ivan Provorov – 25 years old
- Noah Cates – 23 years old
- Owen Tippett – 23 years old
- Cam York – 21 years old
- Bobby Brink – 20 years old
Tortorella acknowledging that the game has changed over the years and saying he has to learn to let players be themselves is enormous if this team wants to be competitive next year.
“I’m not going to turn skilled players into checking players”
It’s going to be hard from the start
“I’m going to coach hard.”
Tortorella established that training camp is going to be tough and how that will be mentioned to the players over the summer when they have their one-on-one meetings.
“A lot of skating, we’re attacking it.”
A spot will certainly not be handed to you coming out of camp, regardless of who you are and what kind of money you make.
Tortorella mentioned that Kevin Hayes was one of his first calls this morning when he talked about players he’s already talked to. He went on to say he thinks Hayes is a “huge piece” of the puzzle for the Flyers and thinks there’s another level to unlock with him.
At the beginning of the press conference, Chuck repeatedly reiterated that the team needs to do a better job of exiting and defending in their own zone.
Tortorella didn’t want to talk about the previous seasons because he wasn’t here for them, but he did mention one of the vocal points he’s going to try and hammer down is giving Hart more support.
That’s something all Flyers fans like to hear, as it’s been one of the most frustrating things to watch over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, Carter Hart has been left out to dry far too often, and it’s nice knowing Tortorella sees that 10 minutes into his tenure as Flyers head coach.
The overall vibe I got from this press conference was that Tortorella is going to be hard on these guys, camp is going to suck from a conditioning standpoint, and Torts wants a “harder look” on these guys.
“Bottom line is, I want the team to be hard, look harder coming off the bus.”
Chuck Fletcher confirms and denies two rumors
There’s always something circulating on Twitter causing people to stir up drama, especially during a dead season like June – August. With that being said, there were two “rumors” that caught many people’s attention.
One was the Flyers hired an outside firm to help with the hiring process, and the other was that Chuck Fletcher was upset with the decision to hire Tortorella.
Fletcher confirmed the rumor early in the press conference that they did hire an outside firm named “The Coaches Agency” to come in and help with the process. He noted that he expects this to start becoming the “norm” in the sports world because it’s something you see a ton outside of the sports sides of things.
Fletcher scoffed and laughed at the rumor that he was unhappy with the decision to hire Tortorella. “Yeah, I was so upset about it that I hired him.” A little bit of some cockiness coming from ol’ Chuck, I like it.
In all seriousness, the idea that Chuck Fletcher, the GM of the Philadelphia Flyers, said yes to hiring Tortorella despite being against it made no sense. Fletcher said, “There’s a bunch of nonsense out there” regarding the articles and tweets you see anywhere on the internet.
Personally, I don’t mind that Fletcher, Briere, and Flahr decided to hire an agency to come in and help with the hire. I also don’t mind how long this took. I just wanted them to make the right decision for the Philadelphia Flyers organization.
- Fletcher said 8 candidates had in-person interviews and that even a couple of them had two
- Tortorella seems fired up to be wearing that Flyers crest on his chest
- Cam Atkinson is pumped to have Tortorella here
- I’m ready to run through a wall and it’s only June 17th
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AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File