Upon his hire, John Tortorella didn’t want to jump into the bare bones about the identity of the Philadelphia Flyers. Most important to Tortorella was getting to know the players, becoming familiar with his lineup, and squeezing every bit of juice from the core. An identity is a critical element, but that is a big-picture concept filled with fractured bits along the way.
Daniel Briere, with Jordan Hall and Joseph Fordyce, discussed Tortorella and his expectations on and off the ice.
Briere, in his role, helped steer Philadelphia towards this coaching hire. There are striking resemblances between Tortorella beginning on Broad Street and when he took over the Columbus Blue Jackets bench. Tortorella has corrected a franchise before, but it requires the locker room to buy into his philosophy. Regaining an identity crafted by hard work is a requirement.
Fighting for the Flyers
Briere became a heightened assistant to Chuck Fletcher, beginning with a critical off-season. First, the Flyers needed a new coach. Hiring the right coach to lead this locker room might be the most important ‘to-do.’
Tortorella is a very passionate coach. He requires players to leave everything on the ice. Over the last couple of seasons, Philadelphia lacked that. Undoubtedly, Tortorella will demand more than Mike Yeo in a lost 2021-2022 season.
“Already, you sense something different downstairs. The players are aware they’re going to have to work hard; it’s not going to be a walk-in-the-park training camp.”Daniel Briere; 8/25/2022
The energy at the 2022 Flyers Training Camp will be seismic. There are many issues that begin with the franchise being honest with themselves. Are they battling for each other? Becoming harder to play means Philadelphia has to buzz on every shift. Tortorella already contextualized how he will test his roster for the appropriate response.
A tighter locker room means the bench boss joins in on sticking up for his players and staff. Tortorella has never been shy about doing so.
“I think there’s a lot of false perception on John Tortorella. When we started diving a little deeper into who he was, how he coached his team, and how he treated people, the one constant that kept coming up is how much he cared about his players and his staff.”Daniel Briere; 8/25/2022
Over the last three seasons, Travis Konecny was the only undisputed points leader for the Flyers. He outright led the team in points scored during 2019-2020 (61) and 2021-2022 (52.) During the 2020-2021 season, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and James van Riemsdyk all tied for the team lead in points (43.)
Konecny must take on the responsibility left behind after Giroux left for the Florida Panthers at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. His path to prominence might be similar to Cam Atkinson, in fact. During the 2020-2021 season, Vigneault benched Konecny. Atkinson was formerly benched by Tortorella, too. Ironically, Tortorella benched Atkinson on April 8th, 2017, during a 4-2 loss in Philadelphia.
“I just haven’t been playing up to my standards, so I see it.”Cam Atkinson; 4/8/2017
During the 2016-2017 season, Atkinson played at his highest level in the NHL. Konecny and Atkinson, according to Briere, share a similar work ethic:
“TK is a guy who is not afraid to work hard, and I think if he gets challenged, and he gets pushed to the limit, I like the type of response you’re going to get from him.”Daniel Briere; 8/25/2022
If at all, Tortorella might salvage Konecny. He didn’t lose his grit. At large, Konecny needs the right help. He’ll do it the ‘Tortorella way.’
“The players that have character, the players that can bounce back, that can push themselves to the limit; those are the players that are going to survive.”Daniel Briere; 8/25/2022
Briere knows the Flyers haven’t worked hard enough to provide the expectations fans deserve, and the emphasis on ‘identity’ and ‘culture’ are vastly critical once it’s lost.
“The last few years just haven’t been good enough, and we’re in a market where people expect hard work, they expect the team to make the playoffs and leave it all on the ice, and it has not happened the last few years. That identity I was talking about, that culture; I think it’s something that is really important. You don’t realize how important it is until you lose it.”Daniel Briere; 8/25/2022
(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)