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Report: Flyers have offered coaching job to John Tortorella

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John Tortorella, Philadelphia Flyers

If he accepts the offer, fiery John Tortorella will try to wake up the slumbering Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers have offered the head-coaching job to Tortorella, according to Kevin Weekes, an analyst with ESPN, the NHL Network and TSN. Tortorella and Weekes work together at ESPN, so one would think Torts spilled the beans to his colleague.

Tortorella will meet with GM Chuck Fletcher on Thursday to discuss his contract, per Pierre LeBrun.

Philly had also been courting Barry Trotz, among others. Trotz is expected to take the Winnipeg job.

PHN: Tortorella will be next Flyers coach, odds say

Tortorella, a Boston native who turns 64 later this month, has been a head coach with Tampa Bay, the New York Rangers, Vancouver, and Columbus. He won the Stanley Cup with Tampa in 2003-04 and has compiled a career record of 673-541-37-132 (.548 points percentage) in 20 seasons.

Alain Vigneault, fired as the Flyers coach early last season, has a .585 points percentage in 19 years, including parts of three campaigns in Philadelphia. That suggests it’s the talent level, not the coach, that has been the Flyers’ problem.

Tortorella’s last coaching season was 2020-21, when he directed Columbus to an 18-26-12 record. The Blue Jackets did not make the playoffs that season. Twelve of Tortorella’s 20 teams made the playoffs. Six of his teams were eliminated in the first round.

The Flyers. coming off the second-worst season in franchise history, have won just one playoff series in the last decade.

If Tortorella takes the job, he will hope to have a healthy Sean Couturier and Ryan Ellis. Both missed most of last season, when the Philadelphia Flyers went 25-46-11 and finished last in the eight-team Metropolitan Division. The Flyers had a minus-87 goal differential.

Cam Atkinson, the right winger who was the Flyers’ MVP last season, played for Torts in Columbus.  In his season-ending exit interview this year, Atkinson brought up Tortorella when he answered a question, and said the Flyers need more “F you” in their game.

The question:  A few of the guys have spoken with a positive sentiment about not finger-pointing. If you are able to keep that attitude, what ways do you think that would help you have a better season next year?

“That’s a good question,” Atkinson replied. “It was a crazy year where we played so many games and I didn’t feel like we had that many practices, especially with Olympics. Whether Olympics were going to happen, that’s why we had so many games in such a short period of time.”

Atkinson said “it all starts with practice. You practice how you play, especially when I turned pro. I learned that from John Tortorella. He was great in that aspect. There just wasn’t a lot of practice times” this season due to a somewhat-compressed schedule.

Added Atkinson: “It was hard to mold and gel as a group when you’re playing so many games (and not practicing much) … You can’t really get on the ice and do it .  I think going into next year, we need to find a way to have some more grit, some more jam, more ‘F you” to our game, on both sides of the puck, in our crease, defending our goalie and in their crease. I thought we were a pretty soft team this year in my opinion.”

They probably wouldn’t be a soft team under an intense, demanding guy like Tortorella.

Would Torts be best candidate to mold ‘soft’ Flyers?

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SpectrumSection51

Trotz wasn’t coming to Philly and if the Flyers were interested in Cassidy, Vegas nabbed him quickly. I’m ok with hiring Tortorella. Although his playoff record isn’t that great other than the one Cup win, Torts should create more accountability and fire under a too laid-back team. Atkinson promoting him plus his experience should help with player acceptance. And he may be able to improve the growth and development of the young players. A concern is that his demanding nature may wear thin but I would hope management makes it clear to the players that the country club approach is not in the plan. All this, plus he should be pretty entertaining. Sam, just don’t let your cell phone go off during a press session.

BigLeftHandie

You missed the point about the lack of talent on the roster. If AV and THREE total head coaches behind the bench couldn’t elevate this team, Torts won’t. He’s rude, loud, and an embarrassment to the league. We don’t want him here.

SpectrumSection51

Please believe me, Big, I understand all too well the talent deficiency. I commented previously that a full rebuild is the way to go. However, I don’t believe that will happen. Things being what they are, who is a reasonable choice for coach? The team is soft, comfortable, and lackadaisical. Fans are disinterested. Someone with NHL experience who demands accountability and is passionate may be able to counteract those issues.

Among the coaches available:
Trotz was never interested in coming to Philadelphia;
Quenneville, past issue plus likely not permitted by League
Cassidy was grabbed by Vegas;
Tocchet, absolutely not;
Montgomery, not enough of a track record and baggage;
Lambert, Isles moved on him before someone else could;
Not the time or situation for someone outside the box.

Given the overall situation, I don’t think Tortorella was a bad choice. Yes, there is much more that needs to be done in terms of talent upgrades, drafting, and player development, and Tortorella has his drawbacks, but I am willing to give this coaching decision a chance.

Matthew

Anyone but Turdarella. He treats his players terribly. Huge miss for the Flyers.

Todd Shannon

I like the hire also. As far as the “no finger pointing”, you could make the argument that it’s a sign of the players not holding each other accountable, especially given the crappy season. On one of the TNT broadcasts a few months ago Tocchet was saying that every great team he’s been around had some friction on the bench, and that it’s necessary to win. This team most certainly has not had that in awhile. I’d say they get along TOO well.

BigLeftHandie

Finger pointing? The team stinks. The skill level is about 4 grades below what it takes to win in the NHL. Torts is only going to make that worse. Cam is a good winger who really hasn’t proven or won a thing in his career, so not sure why you would put stock into his opinions. Practice? We’re talking about practicing harder when the team is filled with barely AHL level players? No, sorry.

BigLeftHandie

If Torts is the coach on opening night, I will not watch for the first time in over 40 seasons. He’s a rude embarrassment to the league. Knowing they will be losers for the next 2-3 seasons, a guy like Jimmy M makes much more sense given the plethora of younger players. If AV couldn’t handle younger players, what makes you think Torts will? Give me a break. This is a disaster of a hire. Disaster.

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