The effort over the weekend didn’t earn a victory. The Philadelphia Flyers went 0-2-0 on the road against the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders.
At the TD Garden Arena, the Bruins blanked the Flyers, 4-0. Following a solid opening period, everything began to unravel in the second. Tortorella dismissed any second-period slide, not putting a lot of emphasis on the preseason results. “It’s another exhibition game,” Tortorella later added before stating that he and the team are “looking forward to the start of the season.”
Still, it is tough to ignore the performance. It isn’t just the young players who are competing for a roster spot or more responsibility. The veterans must hold themselves to a higher standard, too.
“I think we have a ways to go in learning how to carry ourselves; with confidence, a professional attitude, that is an area I think we need to improve.”John Tortorella; 10/2/2022
How a team handles a momentum swing tells a lot about who that particular team is. Overall, Philadelphia plays with confidence at times, but cannot consistently compete with other professionals. It is an identity that began in 2020-2021 and became rampant in 2021-2022. Tortorella, a man of the mind, knows “those aren’t physical skills, that’s a mental skill.” He wants to train his players mentally, leaving the skill up to the position coaches.
“The biggest thing we’re evaluating is handling when there is a change of momentum, looking at their work ethic. I thought they played hard. We’re we smooth? Did we make a lot of plays? No. They played hard, found a way to get a couple whacks at it at the end of the game. For the most part, I like some of the things they did.”John Tortorella; 10/2/2022
Though the Flyers lost on Long Island, 2-1, they did put together a much-improved performance a day after Boston.
“In general, I thought everyone battled hard. I think that was the best game I’ve been a part of in the preseason in terms of what we did out there. A couple bounces here and there, I think we’re proud of our effort today even though we came up a little short.”Morgan Frost; 10/2/2022
On the surface, Philadelphia lost to the Islanders. Dig a little bit deeper, and there are a handful of positive impressions. Tony DeAngelo called his shot before the preseason tilt with the Islanders, alluding to a new powerplay structure. It worked, notching a goal from a backdoor feed by Frost. Though the Islanders would score the eventual game-winner following two unanswered goals in the same period, the Flyers kept fighting until the final horn, nearly tying the game at the last second.
“I thought we battled back, though. Didn’t make a lot of plays, but I thought throughout most of the game that we played hard. We really stressed to them when we dipped in the second a little bit, due to the penalty problems, just to get back into it by playing simple. I thought they did a pretty good job of that.”John Tortorella; 10/2/2022
Both times, Philadelphia was on the losing end, but the efforts were absolutely different. It is tough to get an appropriate read of what this team will be once the regular season begins. Tomorrow’s game, a rematch versus the Islanders, cannot be treated as a dress rehearsal, making it harder on Tortorella. “We’re nicked,” he said, as the team remains cautious concerning player health.
“It gives guys a longer look instead of having a lot of what, we would think, could be our team. To me, it’s more evaluating.”John Tortorella; 10/2/2022
Ultimately, that is the point of the preseason. Evaluating younger players to learn about how they can contribute to the lineup. A 1-4-0 record is poor, but the context provides evidence that Tortorella, and some players, aren’t fretting.
“I don’t think we’re worried about it. It’s a so much different game when the regular season starts, too. It changes totally from the preseason, so [I] wouldn’t read too much into that. We’ll be fine.”Tony DeAngelo; 10/2/2022
The oncoming season is about evaluation, in the big picture. It would serve best to reserve all judgment until the regular season is in full swing.
“When the real stuff starts going, those are conversations I’ll have then; as far as what was good, what was bad, how much we need more, whatever it may be, that’s when we’ll have those conversations.”John Tortorella; 10/2/2022
Tomorrow’ the Flyers host the Islanders in their last preseason scrum before opening night of the 2022-2023 regular season versus the New Jersey Devils.
(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)