Thursday night’s victory over the Minnesota Wild was, well, a wild one indeed. It was also the 700th career win for Flyers head coach John Tortorella. And while we can assume that he would’ve preferred it to be a regulation win, a win is a win.
Wins have not come easy for the Flyers this season. They have won only 27 games with just 66 points this year. They are already two wins and five points over last year’s team. So, that’s something.
When Tortorella came in this season, it was a season filled with unknowns. Which players would make the team? Who, if anyone, would be traded at the trade deadline (turns out, pretty much no one)? Injuries to key players have ravaged this team again and again. Young players have had to grow up and step into roles earlier than they probably should have. Some have grown well in this (see: Noah Cates) while others have struggled (see: Kieffer Bellows). The same is true for many of the veterans.
The Flyers may not get a lot of wins this year. That is not the point of this season. The Flyers have lost a lot of games. However, they are every teams’ “hardest win”. The Flyers, on most nights, fight hard for every game…sometimes literally. The ESPN commentators during the Wild game alluded to the fact that while the Flyers don’t have the talent to compete, they give it their all in every single game they play. A lot of that is because of Torts.
Tortorella is currently tied with Dave Babcock for 11th all time in career wins with 700. Next year, he should pass former Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault. He is fourth amongst active coaches behind Lindy Ruff, Paul Maurice, Peter Laviolette, and Darryl Sutter. He is also second behind Lavy in most wins by an American born coach.
Congrats to Coach Tortorella. Let’s hope he’ll join the prestigious 800-win club soon enough.