The Philadelphia Flyers faithful have had a rough go of it in recent memory. The 2021-22 NHL season was trauma-inducing alone. From complete frustration to absolute boredom when watching games, there are not many emotions Flyers fans HAVEN’T felt. The good news is, they’ve found their coach for the foreseeable future according to a report first broken by the most entertaining insider in the game Kevin Weekes, and oh boy, it looks like next season is going to be full of entertainment in that aspect of the game.
John Tortorella, depending on who you ask, is either the best person or worst person for this job. After an abysmal 25-46-11 season that saw the Flyers rank last in the Metropolitan Division and second to last (only ahead of the Montreal Canadiens) in the Eastern Conference, something needed to be changed. Former head coach Alain Vigneault was fired, and Mike Yeo filled his role on an interim basis. Nothing got better. So, after two head coaches failed to push the team in the right direction following some embarrassing losing streaks, what does general manager Chuck Fletcher decide to do? Bring in one of the most animated and passionate coaches in the entire world.
There are two different sides to this corner. On one, there’s the argument that a team with already butchered confidence doesn’t need to be berated even further. There are plenty of articles out there talking about Tortorella’s conflicts with players and of course the videos yelling at and embarrassing journalists who had questions he didn’t seem fit for the situation. Why would that be good for an already fragile locker room?
But, as much as Tortorella could be perceived as a bully, he is one that demands a ton from his players. A young team like the Flyers could absolutely use some hard accountability to steer them back on the right course. There are obviously bigger issues at play that a coach can’t fix, but one can fix structure and confidence, which the Flyers sorely lacked last season. I’d like anyone to watch the clip below and say that the Flyers don’t need something like in the locker room.
One of the biggest problems that I’ve already mentioned plagued the players last season was the seeming lack of accountability. Players would make very preventable mistakes that would cost the team a goal or even the game, and nothing changed. It continued to happen. Everyone knows that under Tortorella that won’t fly. If someone makes a mistake that he doesn’t like, they will feel his wrath. The punishment will be swift. No one likes to be punished, and if a player feels like they can cut corners, Tortorella will let them know very quickly that they can’t.
At the end of the day, whether you agree with the hiring or not, there will be fireworks coming from the Flyers team on and most likely off the ice as well. Tortorella has been around long enough, so most everyone knows what to expect when he’s brought into an organization. Pre and postgame media pressers will grab the attention of plenty more fans both of the Flyers and from outside markets, and the locker room is sure to be whipped into shape very quickly. For a team that knows last season was an unacceptable showing of poor resiliency and no accountability, hiring Tortorella may not be the worst thing in the world. I doubt anyone had him at the top of their coaching list, but the players could certainly benefit from the strict and brutally honest nature of someone like Tortorella.
There is still a long way to go in the offseason for the orange and black, but completing the coaching search was a good first step, and it’s only a matter of time before we see how it plays out. Even if the Flyers are boring next season, which is a very real possibility, the new head coach will give fans a reason to tune in.