Dan Hilferty further instills Flyers' culture after Tortorella ejection

Dan Hilferty backed up his head coach, pledging to pay any fine the NHL hands down at John Tortorella.
Dan Hilferty backed up his head coach, pledging to pay any fine the NHL hands down at John Tortorella. / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Flyers were blown out by the Lightning on Saturday night. There is nothing that can be said and done that will change it. From puck drop to the final buzzer, it was Tampa's game. Games like that happen in an 82-game season. What matters is how a team responds to it.

The Flyers won't have a chance to respond on the ice until they face the Sharks on Tuesday. But their comments following the game show the new culture that the organization has been building throughout the season.

It began when John Tortorella was ejected midway through the first period. While he was likely mad the team was down 4-0, his ire was not directed toward his players. Instead, he was standing up for them. The officiating to that point of the game had been fairly subjective and one-sided. The first call on Ronnie Attard was more of a phantom holding call than anything. His second hooking penalty was a rather weak one as well. And Garnet Hathaway's 10-minute misconduct came on a play that happens numerous times in a game.

One can argue that Tortorella should find a way to keep his cool behind the bench. But if you know Tortorella, that is unlikely to happen. Instead, he let the officials hear it. However, his tirade was likely toward Wes McCauley, who would be the one to eject him from the game. Tortorella refused to leave the bench and instead wanted to know exactly what he was being ejected for. Okay, there were plenty of other words he used to convey his point. But the fact is that Tortorella is not afraid to stand up for his team when he believes they are being treated unfairly.

He did that with the officials on Saturday night and has done that numerous times in the media. If he feels the team played well, he lets everyone know it. And if he feels they played badly, you know that as well. It's one of the reasons he was brought in to lead this team. He is not afraid to hold anyone and everyone accountable.

Dan Hilferty, the Flyers CEO, furthered that with his feelings on Tortorella's ejection. Speaking with Al Morganti of NBC Sports Philly, he echoed the sentiment that the new culture involves having everyone's backs, no matter the situation.

"I'm really proud of Torts for standing up for his/our team," Hilferty said. "This new era of Orange is about having each other's backs. Last night, Torts had our collective backs. I respect any action the league might feel a need to take, but if it includes a fine, I am paying it."

The players were a bit more subdued in their responses, though they have to play it more carefully in what they say. Sean Couturier did mention he felt Tortorella didn't deserve the ejection he was given, adding that the head coach didn't say much.

Associate coach Brad Shaw, who took over after the ejection, spoke on the frustration they felt behind the bench in that first period. He declined to speak on whether or not he felt the ejection was justified. Shaw did mention that he wasn't excited about the tripping call given to Attard, either. The penalty was originally called on Tampa Bay, before being changed after a discussion.

"I think he was just trying to make a point that we felt like we might not been getting our fair shake. But you know, it's an emotional game at times, and we all get elevated blood pressure. So, I think it's just part of the game."

Tortorella has been fined 12 times during his coaching career. We'll see if a 13th is coming his way.