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Flyers’ John Tortorella on iPad fuss: ‘I Don’t Give a Flying Sh-t’

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Philadelphia Flyers, John Tortorella

Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella has banned iPads from the bench, as outlined in Ariel Melendez’s story Thursday for Philly Hockey Now.

In short, he thinks iPads are distracting; he wants the players to be more engaged with each other between shifts, and not with a computer video.

He was asked after Friday’s practice how he balances the fact that iPads can sometimes help players see what they did wrong, and taking them away to keep their minds on the action.

Tortorella said it’s a “fine line,” but “we’re not going to have them. We have a TV (on the bench) that we can’t take out because it’s built right into the rink by my feet. So if we or someone really needs to (look at) something, we have the ability to do that.”

He said the assistants sometimes look at the monitor.

Tortorella wants the players’ attention elsewhere.

‘We overcoach’

“If we’re going to keep on growing here, just get ready for the next shift,” Tortorella said. “… With the iPad, you’re pointing out everything during a game; it’s almost like you have to (as a coach) because we just saw it. And we overcoach. I think we get in the way sometimes and we’re clouding their head with what just happened, instead of let’s try to take care of business on the next shift.”

Added Tortorella: “Everybody thinks technology is great, and sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t, and I think this is a time it isn’t.”

Someone mentioned that Tortorella will be perceived as “old school” because of his approach.

“I don’t give a flying sh-t how I’m perceived,” he replied. “I really don’t because it’s my job to coach the team. If I’m in the business to try to make everybody happy and be perceived (positively), that’s a tough way to live — and I really don’t pay too much attention to it. .. I’m kind of locked into what is best for the team, and I have to make those calls.

“Now if my boss feels I’m not making the right calls, that’s when you lose your job. But I owe my whole process of thinking to the players, and I think this is the right thing for our group.”

Players agree with Torts

The Flyers seem behind Tortorella’s decision.

“I think it’s a good thing,” center Morgan Frost said of the ban. “Sometime you get a little too caught up in it. Sometimes, you want to watch what happened, but at the same time, sometimes you’re just looking at it to look at it.

“I think he’s right in that it can be distracting.”

Frost conceded he would frequently look at an iPad during games. “But not as much as TK (Travis Konecny),” he said with a smile. “Even last game, I remember a couple times I reached back for it, and it wasn’t there.”

Right winger Owen Tippett said he would look at an iPad “on certain plays, to see if I had another option, but at the end of the day, I don’t really need them on the bench. It’s not something I really need. I can look at them after the game because we have access to all the shifts.”

Veteran left winger James van Riemsdyk said there can be value using the iPads “but sometimes it takes away from talking to your teammates on the bench … and getting a sense of what matters more.”

The players can go in the video room between periods if they need to watch a play on a TV. “But we’re not passing around an iPad in the locker room,” Tortorella said. “I’m not trying to be an idiot here. We have a major problem understanding flows of a game.  That’s the biggest reason for it (the ban). Understanding the flows of a game, momentum. I think it’s so important to learn that as a young team.

“If we are fortunate enough to play in big games, they’re magnified even more — momentum swings,” he said. “So I don’t want them overthinking.”

Tortorella asked if his iPad decision was “turning into a bi deal out there?”

On Twitter, yes, he was told.

He was also told it wasn’t him that was getting criticized, but that some fans were getting on Konecny for his affinity to use an iPad during games.

“That’s fine,” Tortorella said, drawing laughs.

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