The Flyers are mired in a 10-game losing streak. They’ve suffered a lot of injuries. They’ve had to rely on third and fourth-line players playing on the first and second lines along with rookies and second-year players. In short, it’s been a difficult year so far. But don’t tell that to Coach John Tortorella. In fact, let’s hear it right from him on what he thinks about that. (WARNING: Not safe for work!)
Well now…here is a coach who has said, earlier, that this is a league filled with dumb players. He’s also come out and said, truthfully, “we suck”. But this new comment…wow!…But you know what, he’s right.
When Chuck Fletcher hired Tortorella this summer, he knew there was no magic wand that Torts had that could be waved and transform this team from one of the worst in the league into Stanley Cup Champions instantly. There were injury issues, personality issues, and salary cap issues. The fact that the Flyers started off hot is, in fact, a miracle unto itself. The team fell behind in games and rallied back. They believed in themselves, played a strong defensive first game, and had a rock-star goalie in the pipes.
Then, everyone got hurt. Even then, Tortorella said he is not making excuses. Injuries are unfair and they are not showcasing what his team could truly be. Tortorella says he doesn’t want to hear it. He is not blaming the youth. He is not upset at the losses because at least the team is trying. If they didn’t put in the effort, that is one thing. These guys are battling every night. They might not be winning, but they aren’t rolling over either. For that, he said he isn’t going to criticize the players.
Instead of looking for excuses, Tortorella took a much different approach to what the team needed to do.
"“When you’re in a situation where you don’t have a ton of respect in this league, you’ve got to eat that s—. Don’t complain about it. You’ve got to eat it. That’s part of growing. No one wants to lose, but when you’re in the situation we’re in and everybody expects it to happen that way, don’t whine about it, don’t complain about it, don’t pretend or make excuses about it. You eat it.”"
The way things are going, you just gotta deal with it. Things happen. No excuses, no explanations.
"“Just remember, just remember some of the things that happened to you and happened to your team during games. I already have a check list of remembering as far as what’s going on this year, how certain situations have been handled, quite honestly, through officiating. You’ve got to earn your respect from your officials. It’s just part of the game. And I love that about our game because you have to earn it.”"
This is it right here. This is why Tortorella will be a success here. You suck it up buttercup and deal with it because at some point you can give them all payback.
Everyone counted out the Eagles in 2017 after Carson Wentz went down. They took down the greatest playoff quarterback in history with a backup. They discounted Jalen Hurts before the season starts and right now he is in the MVP discussions. The Phillies were totally laughed at in June; especially after they fired their coach and lost Bryce Harper to an injury. Instead, they had one of the most magical postseasons in recent history and battled a loaded Houston Astros team tooth and nail.
The Flyers are just like these teams. They are in a dark, dark valley right now. And if you look at the schedule that is coming up, it doesn’t look much better. This is gonna be a rough Christmas for Flyers fans.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Some of our guys should be back right around Christmas to the middle of January. Ok, we won’t make the playoffs, but they are making strides that will pay off a year or two from now. This is a hungry team that is getting angry. You can see that in how physical they have become lately. Nic Deslauriers doesn’t go fighting people if he doesn’t care about his teammates.
Not only that, the players know they have a coach that is standing up for them. He is not letting them off the hook for their mistakes, but he is standing up for them when the media has tried to go after them for losing. He is sticking up for the guys and defending them. That will pay a lot of dividends and is building a ton of trust and respect.
This is a team that cares. As the coach says, they will remember this. They will remember when everyone laughed at them and treated them with contempt. There will be a day soon when the Flyers will romp over others and Tortorella will have the last laugh. It may not be this season, but it is coming. Changes are going to come and it is going to be wonderful again to be a Flyers fan.