John Tortorella is going hard on players at Philadelphia Flyers camp

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When John Tortorella was hired by the Philadelphia Flyers it was to turn a franchise around that finished dead last in the Metropolitan Division last season.

That wasn’t all.

There’s been a lot of rumblings around hockey circles that the Flyers locker room was a mess and in desperate need for culture change or in Torts’ case a culture shock.

John Tortorella goes all out Day 1 of Flyers camp

john tortorella flyers
Dec 2, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella looks on from behind the bench against the Washington Capitals in the second period at Capital One Arena. The Capitals won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for some players to learn that the legend of Torts being a hard-nosed, no-nonsense coach doesn’t do any justice to the real thing.

On Day 1 of Flyers training camp, he had them skating their asses off and that only got tougher with each session since.

“There’s going to be harder skates than today as we go through camp. It’s not to pound our chest and just bury them. We want to test them and it develops a camaraderie. They kind of look at you like, ‘You’re not going to get to me.’ I think that’s the attitude we’re trying to develop is a will.”

John Tortorella, via NBC Sports

On Friday, the drills and scrimmages were so tough players were seen sprawled on the ice.

Torts knows the locker-room had issues

The 64 year-old Torts is a tough coach that holds everyone accountable. You play his way or you don’t play at all. He comes in with a reputation of being hard on his players but very fair. He’s also the 14th winningest coach in history with a record 673-541-37-132, two Jack Adams Awards, and one Stanley Cup.

When it comes to a locker room, he knows what makes it tick. Coming to Philly, Torts knew the Flyers had issues and he openly addressed it weeks before camp.

“I have major concerns about the (locker) room,” Tortorella told SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on Wednesday. “I’ve spent some time in the office talking to players, talking to personnel, talking to (general manager) Chuck (Fletcher), all the front office. I have major concerns about what goes on in there.

“Before we even step on the ice, situations and standards and accountability in the room is forefront. You can’t get squat done on the ice until you get your room straightened out, and I think we have a little bit of work to do there.”

Well, now that the team has stepped on the ice they know what they’re in for. Those who can get through this camp will be rewarded with playing time. Those who can’t will likely be playing elsewhere.

One thing is certain, Torts has made it clear that it will be an “ugly as hell” training camp. When it’s done, this will be a mentally tough group and tighter knit locker room ready for the regular season.