John Tortorella will be the one to fix the Philadelphia Flyers

John Tortorella will be the one to fix the Philadelphia Flyers over time.
Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens
Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Ever since John Tortorella became the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, there have been his detractors. Some say that he is too rough on players.

Some cite his previous times in Columbus and New York to showcase that he is unfit for coaching. He can be rough with players and even rougher with members of the press.

However, if you look at his two-year tenure in Philadelphia, he has done well. This team increased from 25 wins in 2021-22, to 31 wins in 2022-23, to 38 wins this year.

Likewise, the Flyers increased in goals scored from 211, to 222, to 235 while simultaneously dropping from 298 goals given up to 277 last year to 261 this season.

John Tortorella is doing great things for the Philadelphia Flyers

Fundamentally, they are getting better. However, the power play is still pretty much a disaster. The good news is that the penalty kill unit has gotten much, much better.

So what does this have to do with Torts? For starters, he is a guy who is big on fundamentals. He wants his players to play smart hockey.

His focus so far has been on trying to get this team to play smarter so they can transition from the defensive side to their offensive game without coughing up the puck or giving up a big play.

One of the things he wants is accountability in his players. He wants them to be their best because he can see the potential for greatness they have.

Sometimes, this comes out with him calling out his players as he did when he talked about their poor play against the Islanders earlier in the month. At the end of the year press conference, he said:

"I don't take one word back from that, It wasn't a complicated situation I wanted our guys to understand — and still do — that there's a whole different level of hardness that comes with this as you start getting better as an organization. You've got the wrong coach here then if we're going to be hugging and [saying], We're here guys, you played a lousy period and a half there, but it's OK. You're not getting that from me. Ever."

John Tortorella

He wants his guys to play well. At the same time, he also sticks up for them. When there were concerns that he was playing Sam Ersson too much in net, he said.

Remember, this is the same coach who got suspended for arguing with a ref. This is also the same coach who defended former Flyer Kevin Hayes publicly although they didn't get along last year.

When the Flyers started to slide near the end of the season, Tortorella took accountability for how the team had been playing and took exception to the thought that the Flyers didn't belong in the contending team conversation.

"They're young, they're not supposed to be here. We're here. We're here. Face it. And let's be better. And I don't think we're ready to be better and that's my problem with us right now. And it is my job. I have not done a good enough job to get them over the hump. After playing those seven games, and then each game as it goes down, we have six left, I haven't done a good enough job to make them understand we have to be different now, we have to be at a different level. That's my frustration with (myself) and that's my frustration with the team."

John Tortorella

He's a coach with passion. He is passionate about how his players play. He is passionate about this game. This team was in contention for most of this season.

It's a shame they missed out on the postseason towards the end of the year as they truly deserved a shot. There are many factors for that collapse and they will all be discussed in time. However, one thing is for certain: it isn't the coach. Next year, he will bring this team back to the playoffs.

A coach who takes responsibility for the team is a coach who will win the respect of the players. A Coach who defends his players from outside criticism and redirects it to himself, or throws it back at the media, is a coach who has the respect of his players.

Those players will fight for him. You will see this team turn it around for him next year.