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Flyers’ Tortorella Delivers Fiery Message to Public: ‘We’re here; face it’



John Tortorella

Lots of questions have been asked of the Philadelphia Flyers over the last few weeks.

The Flyers are 5-7-4 since March 1 and 0-3-2 in their last five games. They’re still very much in the playoff race and are still holding onto a spot, but this five-game skid has started to send things spiraling out of control.

As the Flyers’ head coach, it all eventually comes back to John Tortorella to stem the tide. On Wednesday afternoon, the grizzly vet delivered yet another one of his iconic press conferences, sending a fiery message to the public, and perhaps to his team, too.

“It follows me around, and so be it. If a player is going to quit on me, or players or going to quit on me because I’m trying to make them better people and better athletes, you’ve got the wrong damn coach here, and you’ve got the wrong damn people here,” Tortorella began.

“My job is, I’m going to push athletes. . . I was in control the other night. What I said I meant. And, quite honestly, when I watch the tape now, I’m more concerned than just the second period. Because of, I’m so proud of the team getting here.

“And I guess now that narrative out there is, because I’ve heard from other people, is that they’re young, they’re not supposed to be here… bullshit! We’re here! We’re here; face it!”

The Flyers’ modus operandi all season has been to be the team that always gives 110%, even if they don’t have another gear to reach beyond that. They are a rebuilding team whose ceiling, in terms of on-ice performance, is capped by their overall talent.

Despite all of that, the Flyers are still miles ahead of teams like New Jersey and Pittsburgh, and they don’t have Erik Karlsson, Sidney Crosby, Jack Hughes, or Nico Hischier.

What the Flyers lack in talent, they make up for in heart. That starts with coach Tortorella, even if it hasn’t been apparent on the ice in the last two weeks.

“I don’t think we’re ready to be better, and that’s my problem with us right now,” Tortorella concluded. “And it is my job. I have not done a good enough job to get them over the hump after playing those seven games. I haven’t done a good enough job to make them understand we have to be different now. We have to be at a different level.

“That’s my frustration with me, and that’s my frustration with the team. If people can’t handle it, so be it.”

If that can’t help the Flyers turn the heat up for the last six games of the season, maybe nothing will. Their first chance to prove their playoff mettle to Tortorella will be this weekend, starting with a crucial back-to-back against Buffalo and Columbus.

For more Flyers news and up-to-date coverage, visit Philly Hockey Now and like our Facebook page.
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