It’s pretty obvious right now that he Flyers are a mess. There are a lot of reasons for this; with some of them extending years in the past to when Ron Hextall was the general manager. There are a lot of bad contracts holding this team down and an inability to improve this team at the trade deadline, which lead to Chuck Fletcher’s dismissal. A bevy of draft picks that have either been busts or have yet to develop has also hampered this team.
Some of this was discussed in a recent article on Yahoo! Sports about the state of the Flyers. While there are valid points, there some critiques about John Tortorella that I did not agree with. Among the things mentioned are the following:
"Yet, for a number of reasons, Torts seems like an iffy fit. For one thing, he’s 64 and has two decades of NHL head coaching experience, so you can’t really blame Tortorella if he gets antsy through a rebuild. The players may get antsy, too, with a testy coach who thirsts for healthy-scratching top players like Christopher Walken needs more cowbell. Those antics grate even in the best of times, but what about in the grind of a doomed season? Factor in his prickly nature and a clear fixation on defense, and it’s fair to wonder if he’d stunt the development of some prospects."
Later it says:
"Getting Travis Sanheim out of Tortorella’s doghouse is crucial; Sanheim’s frightening $50M(!) extension hasn’t even kicked in yet. … Much like Sanheim, it’s tough to shake concerns about Torts clashing with a pricey young player such as Joel Farabee ($5M AAV through 2027-28)."
Saying Torts has “antics” and “thirsts for healthy scratching players” is about as lazy as talking about Philly phans booing Santa. These “antics” are well documented and were even brought up when Torts was a candidate for the open position of head coach.
However, the John Tortorella that they are speaking of isn’t the same one that we have seen. He has matured in many ways and is showing a lot more patience than we may have seen before. But here are some ways that they have really missed the mark on the Flyers head coach.