Tortorella talks about expectations for the Flyers in a Q&A with NHL.com

John Tortorella has an energy level that is palpable.

And after spending last season as an analyst for ESPN after six seasons coaching the Columbus Blue Jackets, he now feels like he’s back where he belongs: Getting ready for the start of training camp and another season with an NHL team.

“It’s a lot more exciting for me because I haven’t been in a locker room in over a year,” Tortorella said. “It’s where I grew up. It’s where I’ve been. I’ve brought my family up there. I wasn’t sure at the end of Columbus what was next. Is this enough for me? But I knew a month out Then the season started, I knew I wasn’t in the camp, not in the meetings, that I didn’t have the conflict with the players and the good things with the players, that I didn’t hear the music after a win, I missed it a lot.”

In 20 seasons as a coach, Tortorella is 673-541-132 with 37 ties with the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks and Blue Jackets. He won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004, and the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2004 and 2017.

Despite being 64 years old, Tortorella has as much energy as ever. Training camp, which opens Sept. 21, has been planned since the week he was hired.

“I got my old camps from Columbus, and was sitting in my office there when I got the job, and I wanted to get everything organized right away,” he said. “And now we’re fine-tuning it.

“I ask my players to have a preparedness, I have to have a preparedness too.”

NHL.com caught up with Tortorella to discuss several topics, including the change in mindset and standards that come with his arrival, where he gets his motivation, his relationship with the defenseman. Tony DeAngeloand more.

Do you think the players have an understanding of what the expectation level will be, starting with training camp?

“No, I don’t. It’s certainly not a criticism of them. They don’t know because we haven’t gone through any experiences. They haven’t gone through the camp, they haven’t gone through any of the mental and physical tests that we going through in camp. We haven’t gone through any adversity when the season starts. … I don’t like to use the word culture. To build to play the right way, with the right standard, you have to go through some experiences and learn them, “Gee, that was really good,” and then, “Holy [cow], it’s not good enough,’ with video, with conversations, with all possible ways, and spontaneous coaching, quite frankly, when things happen, for better or for worse. How to create a standard. You and I and I and the players could sit here and talk all summer about what the standard is. It doesn’t mean anything until you start going through some of the stuff and then see how they react to it.”

Cam Atkinson played for you in six seasons with the Blue Jackets. Is there anything he can help the players with?

“I’m thinking right at the start with Cam, just to explain … the preparedness that’s necessary for camp. I don’t want them to fail. I don’t want to be upset about their fitness. I’m trying to give them as much information as possible. The third day after I was hired, a letter went out (to the players) telling them what to expect. I want to give them every opportunity to succeed and meet their expectations for training camp. Cam has gone through that , he can explain it to them. And the thing with Cam is that there was no good path for him at certain times with me as far as camp, in season, standard play. We went through some rocky roads together. He can help me in that way, too, and explain how it’s going to be taught, how we’re going to do this. I think he’s a very important guy for me, for them to understand it faster.”

Most of the roster returns from last season. Does that make it more challenging to establish the new standards?

“I’m not convincing them. I’m going to tell them what we’re looking for. We’re going to push to that level, and if some guys aren’t willing to get there, or maybe there’s a little stubbornness about when we get there, we’ll look to somebody else. We’ll look to the kids if it’s the older guys. I go in there and I think it should be a very, very good thing for the players to know it’s a blank slate. I’m not going to look at salary, I’m not going to look at draft picks, I’m not going to look at how many years you’ve played, I’m going to look at how you play, and I’m going to give you every opportunity to show it. They’re going to make the decisions for me . If I have to convince, we don’t want that guy on the bus.”

Defenseman Tony DeAngelo was the Flyers’ biggest acquisition. Is the power play where he will have the biggest impact?

“Absolutely, but he’s going to add juice to our team all over the place. There’s a lot of talk about how he’s handled himself; I’m sure he knows he’s made some mistakes. We’ve all made mistakes in public with our mouths and our actions in life, but what I love about Tony is that I may have to tame him at certain times, but I would much rather have a player who has the intensity and the will that he shows and the competitiveness that he shows. things, and he’s going to say some stupid things, but we’re going to work through it together. He might have to be tamed at times, but I think that’s what this team needs. I think the team needs a little bit of personality and a little bit of that [stuff] which continues with it. He’s going to be a big part of our power play as far as the way he can handle the puck, the way he gets across the blue line. Just the way he plays, he’s a big piece of the puzzle here.”

With Ryan Ellis likely out to start the season, can you count on DeAngelo as a top-pair defender at 5-on-5?

“Yeah. I think he’s going to be willing to try to understand our coverages. That’s what I was so upset about, how some things were said this summer, and I don’t think they were entirely aimed at Tony, but I’m excited about that acquisition because I think he can be a better player as well. And I think he has the mindset that he’s going to be better off the puck, on the defensive end, because he knows that if he is, he’s going to have the more. Part of that responsibility is we try to communicate that to him and teach him that part of the game. I know we’re going to have some run-ins along the way here because of how competitive he is and I I’m going to to be very honest with him through all situations, just like I do every other player. I’m looking forward to that. I think it’s so healthy. If you’re honest with each other, and then you get around maybe a conflict here and there, but you get to the other side, I think it’s so much healthier for your team when you going through it. And I really I look forward to coaching him.”

There seems to be a sense that the Flyers will struggle to contend for the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. How much motivation can you draw from trying to prove everyone wrong?

“I’ve heard the comments. We make our own bed. When you’re a 61-point team (25-46-11 last season) in the National Hockey League, you have to understand that you’ve got to eat some of these things here. But in my mind , when I hear it, and I hear it again and I hear it again, and I’m going to hear it many more times when the season starts, I know what it does for me as far as fueling me. More importantly, it’s the players… If you keep hearing it and you say it [jersey] on and they talk about you and your organization, if that doesn’t give you a little extra [fuel], then you should not be on the bus. Because it will eventually show in camp.

“I saw that Michael Jordan series (‘The Last Dance’). … If you want to be the best you can be as a coach, as a manager, as a player, I think you look for things. I do. I look for things to hate. Michael Jordan did that to level up his game. It was so cool to listen to on that show. And I think that’s very important if you want to be the best. You can always be good. If you want to be great, you have to you find the extra motivations and we have one staring us right in the face We all think [stink].”

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