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Report: Flyers interview John Tortorella for head coaching position

According to a report from ESPN’s Kevin Weekes, the Philadelphia Flyers have interviewed John Tortorella for their head coaching position.

Weekes mentions that Tortorella is “one of the coaches” that has interviewed with the Flyers, perhaps meaning some other candidates have already talked to the Flyers as well. We know that Barry Trotz is on Philadelphia’s radar as well, and both parties are scheduled to meet sometime this week after having a phone call last week, and other names such as Rick Tocchet and Jim Montgomery have been floated around as well.

Tortorella is a fiery personality that would seem to be a perfect fit in a place like Philadelphia, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Flyers are in on him given his resume. Tortorella has served behind the bench as an NHL head coach for 1,383 games, compiling a 673-541-132-37 record all-time between stops with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, and most recently the Columbus Blue Jackets, and won two Jack Adams Awards in 2004 and 2017. He also maintains a 56-64 record in 120 games coached in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which includes a Stanley Cup championship.

Tortorella’s crowning achievement came in 2004 with the Lightning when he guided them to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames in seven games, and he also won his first Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach that year. Tortorella was the longest tenured and winningest coach in Lightning history before Jon Cooper’s outstanding reign behind the Tampa Bay bench. He had only missed the postseason twice in six full seasons with Tampa Bay after taking over after the firing of Steve Ludzik halfway through the 2000-01 season.

Tortorella also made an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2012 as head coach of the Rangers, and New York only missed the postseason once in his five full seasons behind the bench, back in 2010 after they lost in the famous Game 82 shootout in Philadelphia against the Flyers, who made their miracle run to the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago that year.

The 63 year-old Boston native has a reputation for being fiery, and sometimes just plain hotheaded, but he brings plenty of passion and energy wherever he goes, and maybe the Flyers could use that after suffering the most miserable and disappointing season in the franchise’s 55-year history. Cam Atkinson probably said it best on Break Up Day, “I thought we were a pretty soft team to play against.”

Atkinson is a former Tortorella disciple from his days in Columbus, where the forward scored 153 goals and 134 assists for 287 points in 402 games under Tortorella’s tutelage, including the 2018-19 season when Atkinson potted a career-high 41 goals and 28 assists for a nice 69 points in 80 games. Atkinson also pointed out during his exit interview, “You practice how you play. I learned that from John Tortorella. We need to find a way to have some more grit, some more jam, more F-you on both sides of the puck.”

Most would agree that Atkinson would be correct in his assessment, and perhaps hiring Tortorella would finally light the scalding fire under this team that they’ve so desperately needed.

Managing Editor at Flyers Nation. Proud lifelong supporter of the Philadelphia Flyers and all things hockey related. Steve Mason's #1 fan.

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