Tortorella is the second-winningest American-born coach in NHL history. He is known for his occasional temper and demanding, no-nonsense coaching style, and he has clashed through the years with his share of players.
Flyers winger Cam Atkinson played under Tortorella in Columbus. He said at the end of the season the Flyers were “a pretty soft team” and a coach like Tortorella could help toughen up any franchise.
“I think it all starts with practice. You practice how you play,” Atkinson said in April. “Especially when I turned pro, I learned that from John Tortorella. He was great in that aspect. ... I think going into next year, we need to find a way to have some more grit, some more jam, more ’F you” to our game, on both sides of the puck, in our crease, defending our goalie and in their crease.”
Flyers chairman David Scott said in January that he didn’t think the franchise needed a a long rebuilding year plan and there was enough of a proven core to turn the team into a winner. Scott said he would give Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher “a blank check” to fix the Flyers.
The Flyers have pinned their hopes on Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, Travis Sanheim and goalie Carter Hart as key pieces of the future. The Flyers last played in the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 and haven’t won a championship since consecutive Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.
Tortorella is 673-541-37-132 over almost 20 seasons and emerged as the new coach out of a slew of candidates that included former Washington and Islanders coach Barry Trotz. Tortorella is only 56-64 in the playoffs with six first-round exits.
Tortorella worked this season for ESPN as part of its studio coverage.
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