So what kind of players does new Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella want on his team?
Guys that do a little bit of everything.
He wants his top forwards to sometimes get dirty in front of the net, and his bottom-liners to do more than just be good defensive players who play with a hellbent style.
Tortorella met with the media for an informal, mostly off-the record chat Tuesday in the team’s practice-facility locker room in Voorhees. He seemed comfortable, excited, and animated — and glad to be back in his element after working as a hockey analyst for ESPN this season.
Only answers toward the end of the chat were on the record, the Flyers said, including Tortorella’s interesting reply on the kind of players he wants on his roster.
What is the definition of a Tortorella-type player? Someone like 6-3, 227-pound Josh Anderson, a gritty right winger who played for him in Columbus and is now with Montreal?
“You don’t find too many Josh Andersons or Tommy Wilsons,” Tortorella said. “There aren’t many of those in the league. Those are very important people.”
Torts said his reputation is that he only likes those type of players.
“I get boxed in that I just want that third- or fourth-line guy that’s going to grind,” he said. “That’s not the way I feel.”
He said he wants a player “who is committed to his teammates, and will do anything to help his team, both on and off the ice. I want a player who believes that you do this by doing things together. It’s a really unique situation, where (in order) for players to be the best they can be, they need to be selfish. They need to worry about their conditioning, worry about their game. But they also need to believe that not one player does it. You have to do it all together in a team concept.
“To me, it’s easier to coach those third and fourth-line guys, for lack of a better term. I want the third- and fourth-line guys to know that those top-six guys, those stars, are going to be doing the same bleep you’re doing. They’re going to be doing your strengths, too. Their strengths are maybe scoring 35, 40 goals. But the things you do are just as important to win in this league, and they need to do that, too.”
Tortorella said he’s “not turning a top guy into a checker; it’s turning a top guy into saying, ‘You know what. I need to get in there, also. I need to get into the paint. I need to block a shot to show everybody that I’m willing to do it.”
When you get bottom-six players chipping in with goals, and top-six forwards playing with an edge, “that’s when you have success,” Tortorella said.