Fiery John Tortorella close to becoming next Flyers head coach

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John Tortorella is close to getting back behind the bench of another Metropolitan Division team.

Per multiple reports, the Philadelphia Flyers have an offer on the table for Torts to become their next head coach. NHL Analyst Kevin Weekes was the first to break the story with another of his Breaking News videos from random locations.

Torts has coached the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, and Columbus Blue Jackets.

John Tortorella next Flyers head coach

The rumor mill surrounding the Flyers coach job had both Barry Trotz and John Tortorella as the final two candidates.

Almost from the beginning, Torts was considered the frontrunner to land the position since they let go of Mike Yeo. He’s a fiery coach known to get into some heated moments with the media and his players. But he is also widely considered one of the fairest coaches in the business and would bring instant accountability to that locker room.

The 63 year-old Torts is 14th all-time on the NHL’s win list. In 1383 games he has a record of 673-541-37-132. His postseason record is 56-64 winning a Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Torts marches to his own drum

john tortorella
Dec 16, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella looks on during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is for sure, Tortorella’s press conference with the Philadelphia media is going to become must see TV.

Even if it’s unintentional, Torts always seems to be in the center of a media storm. That happened this past season as a TV Analyst for ESPN. He felt his comments over THE Trevor Zegras flip pass over the net for a goal were misconstrued.

“I live under a rock,” John Tortorella said on ESPN’s The Point. “I didn’t realize all of this was going on after the show.”

Torts began speaking about his comments on the Zegras’ “pass streamed around the world”, where he criticized if it was “good for hockey.” While he still feels it’s debatable if that pass is a good hockey play, he wanted to set the record straight.

“I read the article and saw what this kid was going through with the questions being asked and my heart dropped,” the former coach said. “That was the furthest thing from my mind criticizing this kid.”

“What bothers me is the media – my comments have been taken out of context trying to pit and Trevor against one another” Torts explained. “I feel terrible about that and I reached out to him and his coach. I hope he does it again quite honestly.”

For what it’s worth, Torts as a coach isn’t for everyone. Patrik Laine was very critical of him after Torts left the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I understand the need for a tight system, but all players are different,” Laine criticized how Torts used him. “I do not even want to be like everyone else. I am who I am and do things my way. Everyone should be given the opportunity to be themselves. Then, of course, you have to play within the team’s system. I think it’s stupid not to use my potential. But then it’s another matter what the coaches think.” 

On the opposite spectrum, you have more players that respect Torts because he treats everyone equally. Regardless if you’re a goal scorer or a checker, it’s all about the team.

“Great coach. Great person,” Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins said. “I’m sad that I’m not going to have an opportunity to work with him. He taught me a lot. He was the guy who settled me down and gave me a chance to understand the league.”

“Personally, I love Torts,” Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski noted. “Me and Torts went through it. My first year, came in and it was smooth sailing. Second and third year I was struggling defensively. He was hard me – pushed me to be better. Going through that process with him – seeing what he means to the room, to the city, to the organization – I’m honored to have played for him.”