Avalanche Win Stanley Cup by Trusting the Process

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Winning a Stanley Cup is never an individual achievement. Even with the Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there are usually multiple candidates for the award over the four playoff series it takes to reach the summit of the hockey world.

For the Colorado Avalanche, who claimed the Stanley Cup in the 2021-22 season by dethroning the reigning back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s an achievement that comes from top to bottom. 

It’s an achievement that is a long time coming, a process that played out with a franchise icon leading the way at the top and started with another behind the bench, only to be placed in the hands of a hockey journeyman who rose through the coaching ranks. It’s also an achievement for the players who were around for the entire process, which included as many low points as it did the highest moments that were reached in this championship season.

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Flyers: On Management, Hiring an Outside Agency, and Future Decisions

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By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When John Tortorella met with the media on Friday, the press conference lasted over 50 minutes. The majority of it was Tortorella just being himself, as detailed here in my review of his two common themes.

This was genuine from Tortorella. As a coach with a lengthy track record and sometimes misconstrued reputation, Tortorella certainly knew all the right things to say, but doesn’t have much of a filter when saying them. What you see is what you get with him, there’s no gray area.

That hardly appears to be the case with Flyers management. There’s a lot of gray area right now, in terms of making decisions, who is on board with what, and what the future may hold.

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John Tortorella Press Conference: Communication is a Two-Way Street

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By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

In the NHL, a coach’s role is to get to most out of his players. That’s through strategy and system, a structured gameplan, and effective communication. 

John Tortorella has been around long enough in the league to have seen many elements evolve. That includes communication between players and coaches and how to effectively make the connection between the two to have a strong working relationship. 

“I remember, I used to be back early in my career, I’d dot every I and cross every T. I almost wanted the game, I wanted to predict the game,” Tortorella said on Friday at his introduction as the Flyers new head coach. “I wanted them to move the way I wanted them to move in certain situations and kind of prepared the team that way. 

“I think I’ve kind of come full circle here, players need to express themselves. You need structure. I think one of the most important attributes of a head coach is to find and teach the structure away from the puck. I work at that. I kind of get coined as that defensive guy. You can coin me anyway you want; you can say what you want about me. That is a huge part of winning.”

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John Tortorella Press Conference: Passion for the Game, Excitement for Flyers Opportunity

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By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When you’ve been around the league for as long as John Tortorella has, you tend to get to know as much about some of the other teams you face as much as the ones you coach. Early on in his introductory press conference, Tortorella recalled his memories of playoff hockey in Philadelphia.

“Back in ’04 we were fortunate enough, I was coaching Tampa, we went through Philly to win a Stanley Cup, beating Philly in the Conference Finals. I remember telling my wife and I told [GM Chuck Fletcher] this story, ‘Man, that is a place I would love an opportunity to be in and coach,’” Tortorella said on Friday afternoon. “The passion of the people, the building, everything about the city. It was really neat for me.”

Those were better days for the Flyers. That was when the standard was pushing for the Stanley Cup every season. For Tortorella, that tradition starts with the Flyers emblem, one that he respects and hopes to return to glory.

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Right or Wrong, Flyers Going All-In on Aggressive Offseason

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

For months, the stance that Dave Scott, Chuck Fletcher and company held for the Flyers future was that of an “aggressive retool.” Before any aggressive player changes could be made, the team needed a head coach.

They certainly got aggressive with their head coaching decision, hiring John Tortorella. Tortorella has a reputation often shadowed by viral moments of fiery passion for the game, usually directed at a player or media member. That doesn’t tell the entire story, as Tortorella has a reputation of caring for his players and holding them accountable on an equal level, promoting team-first mentality. 

If you were wondering just what the Flyers were going to try to do with this offseason or questioning if they were serious about an aggressive approach, you got your answer on Thursday. Tortorella is only the first piece of what could be a very busy offseason that features equally as many changes and moves as the last, likely even more aggressive than ever before.

Right or wrong, the Flyers management feels like Tortorella is the right fit. Right or wrong, the Flyers management thinks they can contend for a playoff spot next season. Right or wrong, they will do everything in their power to get a roster that can achieve that on the ice.

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Flyers Hire John Tortorella as Head Coach

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

As the Flyers coaching search progressed, it became clear that experience and a track record for success mattered. It shows with the new bench boss sure to deliver accountability.

The Flyers have hired John Tortorella as the 23rd head coach in franchise history. An official announcement is expected in the next 24 hours. According to Kevin Weekes of ESPN and NHL Network, it is a four-year deal worth approximately $4 million per year.

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Report: Flyers Have Offered Head Coaching Job to Tortorella

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The first coaching vacancy was filled on Tuesday with the Vegas Golden Knights hiring Bruce Cassidy. It appears the Flyers may not be far behind.

On Tuesday night, one night before the Stanley Cup Final opens, ESPN and NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes reported that the Flyers have offered the head coaching position to John Tortorella. Weekes reported that the deal is not done, but negotiations are in the late stages.

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Flyers Coaching Search: First Domino Falls in Vegas, What It Means for Flyers

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It appeared the Stanley Cup Final was going to begin without any team filling their coaching vacancy. While it seemed Barry Trotz held all the cards, Vegas pushed their chips to the center of the table and made the first move.

On Tuesday afternoon, it was first reported by Kevin Weekes of ESPN and NHL Network that Bruce Cassidy will become the next head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. 

So what does this mean for the Flyers in their coaching search? From a candidacy standpoint, it likely means very little. If nothing else, Vegas making their hire now actually increases the likelihood that they will be in position to hire either Trotz or John Tortorella, who appear to be the two leading candidates at this point. There were rumors that Trotz was the favorite for the Vegas job prior to the Cassidy hire.

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Flyers Coaching Search: Is It a Two-Horse Race?

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Stanley Cup Final is set to begin on Wednesday. For the two weeks that follow, it is typically a quiet time for other teams around the NHL, particularly when it comes to coaching vacancies. 

The Flyers continue to take steps toward hiring their next head coach. How close are they to doing so? While nothing is imminent in terms of an official deal, it does appear the Flyers are moving forward with their coaching search by narrowing down the list of potential finalists.

According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, finalists for the Flyers head coaching position are believed to include Barry Trotz and John Tortorella. Crossing Broad’s Anthony SanFilippo also reported that Peter DeBoer is also a finalist.

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Flyers Coaching Search: Tortorella, Cassidy, Blashill, Quinn

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Another name entered the coaching free-agent market earlier in the week with the Boston Bruins firing Bruce Cassidy. That made the Flyers search for a new head coach a little more interesting.

Cassidy met with the Boston media on Thursday in a press conference that he initiated. He noted that he has spoken with multiple teams and does want to coach next season. The Flyers are reported to have interest, according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.

Seravalli also noted that the Flyers have interviewed former Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill and will be interviewing former New York Rangers head coach David Quinn. The Flyers also have not yet reached the second round of their hiring process, but when they do, it’s expected that John Tortorella will be a part of it.

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