Tortorella prepared to mentally, physically test Flyers

Flyers' John Tortorella
COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 04: Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella during training camping held at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on January 4, 2021. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire)

Last Friday, the Philadelphia Flyers officially welcomed John Tortorella as the new head coach of the hockey club. Following his introductory press conference, Tortorella was refreshing. He wants teams to dread the idea of playing the Flyers, which Cam Atkinson denoted on Break Up Day 2022.

This morning, Tortorella joined the John Kincade Show on 97.5 the Fanatic at 8:30a. Kincade posed a few questions to Tortorella, which further elaborated his introductory interview and allowed a better understanding of how he’ll approach this team.

In addition to his introductory interview, here’s a few critical takeaways from this morning’s radio appearance.

Athletes are changing

A gigantic worry about Tortorella is how the players will respond to his coaching style. Everything is evolving. Players want to communicate more with coaches and the general manager.

“The number one thing for me is I’m going to be up front with the players. We’re going to look to be a team that’s going to be hard to play against. I think Philly has lost that a little bit. We’re going to get back at it here, and try to push them in the right direction.”

John Tortorella; 6/20/2022

Wiser, Tortorella is very open to communicating with players while remaining steadfast in his “tough love” brand. Atkinson, formerly with the Columbus Blue Jackets under Tortorella, called Philadelphia out for not having enough jam.

“I think it all starts with practice. You practice how you play. Especially when I turned pro, I learned that from John Tortorella.”

Cam Atkinson; 4/30/2022

Tortorella is already ahead because he used time away from coaching to understand the evolution of players. “They want to be part of the decision making; they want to be able to communicate more with the coach, with the general manager,” Tortorella said of how players are changing. The difference is the bond and relationship Tortorella will build with his players. Where there is a Brandon Dubinsky, there are about three to five players sounding like Atkinson.

Another player throwing their flowers at the Flyers for hiring Tortorella was Zach Werenski, currently the alternate captain of the Blue Jackets.

Helping Hart

Remember, Tortorella emphasized making Philadelphia “hard” to play. The miserable defensive performance last season isn’t exclusive to Ryan Ellis’ absence. The Flyers were one of the most injured teams in 2021-2022, but the starters on the ice weren’t bailing themselves out. This statement from Tortorella means that he’ll be riding the defense, as well as the goaltending. In his time as a head coach for other franchises, he’s had stud goaltending, and the defensive unit wasn’t too shabby either.

“It’s ‘what do we need to do to help Carter,’ right now.”

John Tortorella; 6/20/2022

Recognizing the talent between the pipes, Tortorella is excited to build around a 23-year-old goaltender entering his prime. Hart has already provided a glimpse of his skill in 2019-2020. For as bad as the defense was, Hart, Martin Jones, and Felix Sandstrom were silver-linings.

“I think we need to help him, as for as our coverages, at least our concentration away from the puck, needs to be better to allow him to get his feet wet in the league. Then, we’ll see what he is.”

John Tortorella; 6/20/2022

An organic relationship

It is best for Philadelphia to embrace Tortorella. He is hard on his players because he wants his players to be a challenge for every other franchise. Tortorella has evolved in his transparency and understanding regarding communication with players. To that, he did have an interesting tidbit:

“Like I told Chuck: ‘I don’t want you to give me a bunch of information about the players.’ It’s important that I see it. When I start camp with them, they’re going to go through a number of different mental exercises, physical exercises that is going to test them, see what they are, and I need to make my own thoughts in my head as far as what these guys are about.”

John Tortorella; 6/20/2022

Among stating that, Tortorella mentioned that Fletcher has been transparent about the work required to salvage the Flyers. Tortorella can control the attitude, effort, and intensity of his lineup. He will be squeezing every bit of mental and physical conditioning out of Fletcher’s personnel.

Philadelphia will find out who sinks and swims, but this honest assessment represents the value of accontability Tortorella brings to the table as the Flyers bench boss.

(Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire)