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Report: Flyers and John Tortorella in Final Stages in Getting a Deal Done

Well, the Philadelphia Flyers’ “due diligence” has come to fruition as reports have surfaced that they are in the process of trying to hire John Tortorella as their 23rd head coach in franchise history and their 7th in only 8 years, including interims. As has been the case with a lot of breaking news in the recent months, ESPN’s Kevin Weekes was the first to break the news that the Flyers are in late stages of negotiation with John Tortorella, and the deal is not done, but he has been offered the position with more details to come. With rumours circulating for weeks about the myriad of options available and the sheer number of candidates who were being interviewed, the shortlist truly dropped to Barry Trotz and John Tortorella. Bruce Cassidy was hired by the Vegas Golden Knights earlier in the day, which will most likely start a domino effect with the coaching vacancies.

It’s obviously a tough pill to swallow that the Flyers couldn’t get a deal done with Barry Trotz as he was truly the cream of the crop of a very talented pool of available head coaches, but for one reason or another a deal couldn’t get done, so the Flyers went with what they thought was the next best choice. They were enamoured with Tortorella from the beginning, Elliotte Friedman had mentioned several times that a pocket of the current management group loved Tortorella and what he brings to the table, and his fiery personality fits the Philadelphia mold and culture to a tee. Did the Flyers leave too much off the table with other candidates like RIck Tocchet, Jim Montgomery, or Peter DeBoer? Maybe, but if the deal gets finalized with Tortorella, the Flyers have an experienced, “full of jam”, and fiery head coach who will certainly bring an element behind the bench that has been missing for years.

The Flyers have mentioned time and time again – players and coaches – that they always seem to falter when the going gets tough and they never know how to dig out of that hole. Alain Vigneault evidently lost the locker room after the round robin tournament in the COVID-bubble and Mike Yeo didn’t have much control either, so the Flyers’ management team now believes they have found their new voice to rally the troops and keep things in check. Tortorella will keep you accountable, he will bench you to send a message, and you know he’s going to ruffle several feathers. That old-school mentality has lost its way in the new NHL, so it will be interesting to see how his philosophy will clash with the players on the roster or if he’s changed at all during his hiatus from coaching.

One thing the Flyers liked about Trotz was how familiar they became with his coaching and systems because he was behind the bench of two divisional rivals. The same can be said about Tortorella who has been a thorn to the Flyers side dating all the way back to the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, when his Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Flyers in 7 games. The Flyers also know him very well from his time in New York and Columbus with the Rangers and the Blue Jackets, respectively. He is a seasoned veteran behind the bench with 1,383 games under his belt, a record of 673-541-37-132, a Stanley Cup ring, and two Jack Adams Awards.

Cam Atkinson even made mention of Tortorella at the end-of-season press conference, so we already know of one player who will be excited about the hire but the rest remains a mystery. It’s a new chapter for a grizzled veteran so we’ll see how he handles the new job and the Philadelphia market. I’m sure the players will be fired up about the hire, and he’s got a good reputation to his name, he does have his team’s back, and the Flyers need an identity behind the bench just as badly as they need one on the ice.

The Flyers knew the importance behind this hire, Chuck Fletcher knows the importance of this hire, and Dave Scott can’t underestimate the importance of this hire. The Flyers have been flooded by mediocrity for far too long and Fletcher and company knew they couldn’t fumble the bag with another coaching hire. The goalie graveyard became a reality for almost two decades but let’s not underestimate the head coaching carousel on full display either.

As of right now, the ball is in Tortorella’s court as the Flyers have reportedly made the first move by offering him the position. He was intrigued and gracious when asked about his first interview, so all signs point towards John Tortorella being the 23rd bench boss in franchise history, barring a last-minute collapse.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation, living in Guelph

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