Flyers’ Tortorella could unleash best version of DeAngelo

Tony DeAngelo
BOSTON, MA – MAY 12: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo (77) holds the puck on the power play during Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – Round 1 between the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes on May 12, 2022, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

There are many opinions about Tony DeAngelo.

Many fans voiced their displeasure when the Philadelphia Flyers made the trade for DeAngelo. His reputation off the ice, to put it lightly, is checkered. On the ice, the Flyers needed his services dating back to 2020-2021. John Tortorella explained this very complicated dynamic from his point of view as the new head coach:

“Tony DeAngelo’s a hell of a player. Tony DeAngelo has personality. Is he going to say and do some stupid stuff? You’re damn right he is. But I’d rather have a guy doing stupid stuff than having a choir boy here just going about your business.”

John Tortorella; 7/20/2022

Tortorella has concerns about the locker room but requires the personality of a player like DeAngelo. It’s a paradox. DeAngelo could discover a healthy relationship with Tortorella, changing minds as he becomes a better version of himself.

DeAngelo is determined to prove himself on the ice and already making strides to clean up his act off of it. Stories, alleged or proven, damaged his image dating back to his time with the New York Rangers. He got into it with Alexandar Georgiev following a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, which had to be broken up by K’Andre Miller. DeAngelo became increasingly unpopular on social media before ranting, then deleting his Twitter after Donald Trump received his ban. He is one of the most divisive personalities, but Tortorella prioritizes personal growth on his roster, not just in hockey.

It is easy to be critical, and DeAngelo has received second chances. He hasn’t had Tortorella by his side, and some coaches influence the maturity of their players.

“Man in the mirror. I forget the whole slogan I have, but I have that up in our locker rooms, ‘man in the mirror.’ That’s the most important thing when you’re looking at yourself.”

John Tortorella; 6/22/2022

For Tortorella, being the best version of yourself translates to the team becoming the best version of itself. Last season is behind everyone. This upcoming season presents a fresh slate for every player who makes the 2022-2023 roster.

“There’s only one way to think at the beginning of the season. We’re getting ready to start. It’s a whole new season; I could give a crap what happened here last year, it means nothing to me.”

Tony DeAngelo; 9/18/2022

Signing with Philadelphia is a dream come true for DeAngelo. Growing up, he was a fan of the franchise.

“I probably said this before, so I’m sure there’s people that heard me say it, but I would be yelling in my room at the TV, and I’d sneak up late past bedtime on a school night if they were playing Calgary or Vancouver, you know, ten o’clock games. Trying to sneak the TV on, I’d watch it on mute to make sure I could catch the game. My parents have to make me shut my TV off. I only like the Flyers. I hate everybody else.”

Tony DeAngelo; 9/18/2022

Previously, DeAngelo played for the Junior Flyers before embarking on a pro career.

Over the last four summers, DeAngelo has trained kids who are passionate about hockey. He’s growing closer to the hockey community, spreading the game he loves. Teaching hockey to these kids is a step in the right direction for DeAngelo in maturing off the ice. He tells the parents of the kids he coaches that he’s teaching to play “hard, tough, and nasty;” a glimpse into his mindset and why it clicks with Tortorella.

“We got some of my older guys that now started to get some scholarships, D1. It’s been fun watching them grow.”

Tony DeAngelo; 9/18/2022

There are new players on this roster with a new head coach. Accountability is a central theme heading into 2022-2023. People don’t forget about DeAngelo and his past, but he has yet another chance to right his ship. The Flyers will work to do the same on the ice. A refreshing change of pace includes Tortorella channeling DeAngelo into a positive identity, which might prove to be a reality.

“We’re going to have a hard-working team. There’s only one goal. Are we going to win the Stanley Cup? I don’t know, but we won’t get pushed around, that’s for sure.”

Tony DeAngelo; 9/18/2022

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)