When the Philadelphia Flyers announced their new head coach on June 17, 2022, they knew they were bringing in someone tough, brutally honest, and who wouldn’t put up with anyone who didn’t take the game seriously. John Tortorella wants his team to win, battle, and hold themselves accountable, and that’s exactly what the Flyers needed.
At the same time, the team also received his colourful coaching style and unfiltered opinions aimed at the team and media. Given that, he’s provided fans with excellent sound bites that make it hard to keep your eyes off him. Here are the top five quotes from Torts already this season.
5. Post-Game vs. Hurricanes
After an overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 29, in the Flyers’ post-game press conference, Tortorella was asked by a journalist if, after only scoring on one of six power-play opportunities, that ratio, in particular, was a turning point for the team. It was clear that Tortorella was annoyed with the negativity of the question and responded:
“No, I thought the power play goal was important for us. Holy s***, guys. Half full, not half empty.”
Tortorella was then asked: “So, you take away a lot of positives?”
He replied: “You’re god d*** right I do.”
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No one should be surprised by the response, but it sure makes for a great quote early in the season.
Every team and coach has their own method of viewing or using analytics to control the game. When asked how far the Flyers were from being “a good analytic team,” Tortorella’s response confirmed that he believes in more than just a bunch of numbers.
“I have certain analytics that I think are good, and I think most of them are trash. Because I believe in the eye test and stuff” (from ‘The Philadelphia Flyers are becoming John Tortorella’s team in more ways than one,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/02/22).
The comment sparked a debate on social media about whether the use of analytics was still important or whether the outcome shows a team’s true success. Either way, Tortorella knows how to get people talking.
3. Motivation and Positivity
Aside from all the classic comments, Tortorella always stands behind his team when he thinks the media are digging too hard into the negatives. When it comes to the Flyers, he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, and he made that very clear in his post-game interview after trailing the Dallas Stars, 5-1, on Nov 13.
“You can boo us. You can talk s*** about us. I will back those guys because they are trying. If it was an effort problem, then it’s a different story. Those are the things that I have to coach. Those are the things that I have to be fair about when we’re trying to build this team. I’m very pleased with the effort. I don’t give a s*** what people think about out here.”
In another tremendous sound bite, Tortorella backs his team and says what many coaches and players are thinking when they are criticized by outsiders.
2. Morgan Frost
We all love analogies, and when coaches make their comments more colourful by using analogies it makes for a much more entertaining reason to watch pre- or post-game interviews.
During a pregame press conference on Nov. 29 before the Flyers faced the New York Islanders, Tortorella was asked about puck possession and how he can help improve successful play making he chatted about manufacturing offense, but how it’s up to the player to develop their overall skill. He continued on comparing Morgan Frost to a toilet seat.
“You look at Frosty; I still think he’s up and down like a toilet seat as far as you see him coming, and then he dips.”
He was trying to describe Frost’s inconsistency during games, although he succeeded it gave fans a good laugh as its not everyday you compare a play to a house hold appliance.
1. ‘WE SUCK’
Coming in at number one, of course, is the well-known sound bite that blew up on Twitter during a game against Tortorella’s former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 15. The Flyers were down a goal late into the first period. When asked about the Flyers’ start to the game, his frustration was evident:
“We suck. We haven’t forechecked. We haven’t done anything so far.”
The Flyers did battle back with two goals in the second period and two in the third to tie up the game in regulation. Unfortunately, they eventually lost 5-4. Still, Tortorella gave plenty of people a good chuckle and many took to social media to express their opinion.
Tortorella will go down as one of the most interesting coaches in NHL history. He’s straightforward and real, which may leave some people feeling uneasy. He’s been criticized endlessly during his career, but so have most coaches. If there’s one sure thing, fans are looking forward to more sound bites from Tortorella as the season moves forward.
MacEwan University journalism student covering the Philadelphia Flyers. Part-time Oilers fan.