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Flyers’ John Tortorella Gives Lappy Freedom with Phantoms’ System



Ian Laperriere, Philadelphia Flyers
Ian Laperriere is shown during his days as a Flyers assistant. He is now the head coach of the AHL's Phantoms.

John Tortorella, the Philadelphia Flyers’ new coach, believes systems are overrated. Believes most systems have only minor differences. Believes most systems can be learned relatively quickly.

For that reason, he is not requiring Phantoms coach Ian Laperriere to run the same system in Lehigh Valley as he does with the Flyers.

“I think people make a big deal out of different systems,” Tortorella said after a practice session Thursday in Voorhees. “There may be slight details (that are different). You may have different philosophies, a man-on-man defense versus a zone defense. But it isn’t a huge change.”

Tortorella said he wants Laperriere to have his own system, and to have it reflect his philosophy, not the Flyers’.

“You’re not yourself as a coach if you have to use someone else’s system,” he said. “I think that’s a rotten place to be as a coach, trying to be another guy. I don’t think the game is that difficult. … It’s such a reactionary game, and I think the most important thing is to get out of their way half the time as a coach.”

When Tortorella meant with Laperriere, he told him, “It’s your call with the way you go.’ Because I want them to win, also.”

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Tortorella  wants Lappy to express himself as his own person, and he doesn’t want the players to get bogged down with a system. He wants them to find ways to win, wants the happy-go-lucky Laperriere to “teach them how to win. That’s more important than (feeling like), ‘Bleep, I’ve got to play the trap. I’ve got to play a zone defense. I’ve got to do this on a faceoff.’ It’s too much.”


The Phantoms start their preseason schedule Friday in Wilkes Barre against the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate. Among the players on the Phantoms’ roster: Cam York, Tyson Foerster, Elliot Desnoyers, Linus Hogberg, Cal O’Reilly, Isaac Ratcliffe, Max Willman, Linus Sandin, and Olle Lycksell. … Laperriere’s assistants are Riley Armstrong, Jason Smith, and Bill Downey. Brady Robinson is is charge of goaltending development.

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