Tortorella has ‘major concerns’ about Flyers culture

Changing the team’s culture will be John Tortorella’s priority in his early days as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.

« I have major concerns about the locker room, » Tortorella said on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on Wednesday. “I spent time in the office, I talked to the players, the staff, the (general manager) Chuck (Fletcher), and all the leaders. I have serious concerns about how it will work here.

“Before even stepping onto the ice, standards, principles and accountability in the locker room are of paramount importance. You can’t do anything on the ice until you fix the situation in the locker room, and I think we have a little work to do in that regard. »

Tortorella was hired by Philadelphia on June 17 to replace Mike Yeo. The Flyers (25-46-11) finished last in the Metropolitan Division and second to last among the 16 Eastern Conference teams last season. He said his discussions with players during the offseason made him concerned about how certain situations had previously been handled in the locker room.

Flyers training camp begins September 21. They will play their first on October 13 against the New Jersey Devils.

« I can feel it, » he said. It is my intuition that allows me to have this impression following the conversations I have had since my arrival. I know it’s off season and we’re not in the heat of the season. I spoke with many players. I wasn’t playing detective. I just listened to my players and…that’s what jumped out at me.

« You can’t do anything on the ice if the group in the locker room isn’t united, » he explained. I believe there are athletes who are united, but my approach is different from the way things were done in this locker room. I told them. From the 21st (September), when our camp opens, it is something that I will monitor, that I will try to correct according to what will arise in order to reach the standard that I find acceptable. »

The Flyers’ biggest trade this offseason was the acquisition of the defenseman Tony DeAngelo in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 8. They also gave the striker a four-year contract Nicolas Deslauriers and a one-year deal to defender justin brown July 13.

DeAngelo was acquired in part to help a power play that was last in the NHL last season (12.6 percent). He led all Hurricanes defensemen with 20 power-play points in 2021-22.

But Tortorella is also looking forward to seeing what contribution DeAngelo can make in the locker room.

« I think Tony will give us some personality, » he said. I believe it will give us a bit of competitiveness and willpower. I think he is maturing. I think he knows he will have to shut up at times. I’m not going to muzzle him at all, I think that’s part of his personality, and I think he’s more mature in that regard. All of his former teammates and coaches I’ve spoken to love him, because he fights for you. He’s that kind of player.

“He is a good player. I’m really excited to direct it and see what it brings us. »

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