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What Flyers Coach John Tortorella Told Fans in Letter

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John Tortorella, Philadelphia Flyers

In a letter to Philadelphia Flyers fans, coach John Tortorella said some of the same things he’s been telling the media all season: His team is a work in progress, but is going in the right direction.

He spoke with optimism that the Flyers were on track to turning things around. They will likely miss the playoffs for the third straight season, which would be the first time that has happened since the early 1990s.

The letter, first reported by Broad Street Hockey, was sent to season-ticket holders and members of the Inside Edge program.

Tortorella, whose team has a 21-22-9 record after Monday’s 2-1 loss to the visiting New York Islanders, has gotten the Philadelphia Flyers to overachieve despite missing three key injured players — Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, and Ryan Ellis.

The Flyers are six points out of a playoff spot, but need to climb over five teams to get there.

Tortorella repeated many things he has said this season. He told fans he set out to “build a foundation for the future and a standard for how we’re going to play, night in and night out.”

The new coach has gotten development from young players like Owen Tippett, Morgan Frost, Noah Cates, Cam York, Wade Allison, and Sam Ersson, among others.

‘Growing into impact players’

He told fans “we have some kids who have impressed me. Some of them have taken on heavy minutes and big responsibilities, and they’re growing into the impact players we need them to be.”

Tortorella also praised the veterans. “They’ve shown a willingness to adapt, compete, and lead our group both on and off the ice,” he wrote.

In the letter, Tortorella said he was “very pleased with our team’s effort, drive, and hunger to compete.”

He got personal when he said: “Now, I’m not going to lie to you — and I want to be clear about this — we’re not there yet. This year was the first step in building the future of the Flyers and restoring our reputation as one of the most respected teams in hockey.”

Tortorella said over the season’s last two-plus months “we’re going to see how our group responds to the challenges that lie ahead with a grueling schedule. It’s a grind, but all of that is extremely important to see what we have and what we need to move forward.”

He said that excited him, “because I can promise you this — the answers to those questions will come.  You and I will find out together. That’s because we’re in the midst of establishing an identity. Not just any identity — but an identity that that reflects the city of Philadelphia and the proud history of the Flyers organization.”

The last paragraph of the letter was in bold.

“We need you with us. We’re going to get this right, we’re going to make you proud, and together, we’re going to remind everyone what this team is all about.”

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