John Tortorella was the Flyers’ first choice for coach: Chuck Fletcher


General manager Chuck Fletcher says John Tortorella is the right coach at the right time to turn the Philadelphia Flyers around.

Don’t use the word “culture” when talking about the changes John Tortorella will bring to the Philadelphia Flyers.

“I call it standard,” said the new Flyers head coach, who spoke to the media for the first time via video conference from his home in Connecticut on Friday.

“I want our guys to be proud of themselves and I want our fans to be proud of us – how we look, how we present ourselves, how we attack play, how we handle situations in the blue paint. If you’re talking about ice, how we support each other in certain situations. I want people to be proud of it. »

Tortorella, who turns 64 on June 24, is a 20-year veteran as an NHL head coach. He ranks 13th all-time with 1,383 games coached with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets. Four times he was named a finalist for the jack adams coach of the year award. He’s won twice – when he guided the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004 and with the Blue Jackets in 2017.

The right trainer right now

Tortorella’s track record and clear-cut approach propelled him to the top of the Flyers’ list of potential new coaches. An external research company, The Coaches Agency, has been engaged to help establish an ideal candidate profile.

“We were looking for an experienced and respected coach, preferably someone with extensive NHL head coaching experience,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “Someone with a long track record of success. We were looking for someone who had a demonstrated ability to introduce structure and reduce goals against, improve the penalty kill and make life easier for our goalkeepers.

“We were looking for someone with a proven ability to hold players accountable for a high standard of conduct on and off the ice, level of play, level of team direction. A standard of what you put into your game. We were looking for someone with a proven ability to develop young players. Someone with strong communication skills.

“And I think deep down there are a lot of demanding coaches in the NHL. But ultimately players will respond if they know you’re demanding in the sense that you care about them. You want what’s best for them. You are not demanding of yourself, you are demanding that the player be better and the team be better. No one personifies this more than John Tortorella.

Fletcher flatly rejected reports that he had been voted out of the decision-making process and disagreed with hiring Tortorella.

“John was absolutely my first choice,” he said. “It was my decision. I think if you spoke with Danny (Briere) or Brent (Flahr) or Dean Lombardi, they would agree that he was the right fit at this time for the Philadelphia Flyers.

“In terms of all the reports out there, you shouldn’t trust everything you read.”

Player interviews begin next week

Anxious not to criticize his predecessors, Tortorella was also reluctant to go into many details about the lineup he inherits at this time.

He knows he has a supporter in Cam Atkinsonwhom he coached in Columbus.


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