John Tortorella, the new Philadelphia Flyers coach, has a tough audience.
After he was hired, I posted a poll on Twitter and just 42 percent called it a great choice.
I asked fans what they thought of the hire, and here is how they responded:
Great choice: 42%.
Hate it: 11%.
Wanted a younger guy: 9%.
Fans are disillusioned by the fact the Flyers finished last in the Metro last season — injuries played a big part — and have won one playoff series in the last 10 years. One. They have also had seven coaches in the last nine years. Seven.
The fans were excited three years ago when Alain Vigneault — one of the winningest coaches in NHL history and someone who didn’t let the players run things — was hired. But after a promising first season, it didn’t end well and Vigneault was fired early in his third year.
So the fans’ attitude with the Flyers’ latest hire is, quite simply: Show me.
— Anthony Mingioni (@AnthonyMingioni) June 20, 2022
Tortorella, who turns 64 on Friday, seems capable of getting the fans behind him. He came across as a person confident he could turn around the Flyers — a franchise steeped in mediocrity, or worse, in the last decade — in his introductory news conference Friday.
He said all the right things, and even did it with a surprising touch of humility. Also surprising: He said becoming the Flyers’ coach has been on his mind for almost two decades.