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John Tortorella defends Flyers' disappointing offseason

·3-min read
Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella took the time to defend his boss and new players in an interview on Wednesday. (Getty Images)
Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella took the time to defend his boss and new players in an interview on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Flyers head coach John Tortorella does not want to hear any criticism about his team’s offseason.

While other teams around the NHL have been heralded for improving their squads in the first few weeks of the summer, Philadelphia has arguably stayed fairly stagnant after finishing 29th overall last season. After missing out on hometown boy Johnny Gaudreau, signing bottom-six forward Nic Deslauriers to a long-term deal, and acquiring controversial blueliner Tony DeAngelo, a good portion of the fan base has loads of questions and even more pessimism about where their team is heading.

Tortorella will have none of that.

"I'm a little pissed off about some of the things said about a couple of the players and Tony DeAngelo, at least some of the things I've read. I haven't read them all, I don't spend my day trying to listen to everybody, what they're talking about,” Tortorella said via NBC Sports.

"Tony DeAngelo's a hell of a player, Tony DeAngelo has personality. Is he going to say and do some stupid stuff? You're damn right he is. But I'd rather have a guy doing stupid stuff than having a choir boy here just going about your business. You don't win that way, you don't win championships, you don't build a team without any personality. Tony's going to bring that and, plus, he's a hell of a player.”

The 26-year-old blueliner has been steeped in controversy throughout his entire hockey career. From being suspended in junior hockey for using slurs on the ice, to getting in a fight with his goaltender and eventually having to be bought out by the Rangers, resulting in him sitting out for the majority of the 2020-21 season. It has been well documented how much of a headache this single player can be for a team but earlier this offseason, Philadelphia spent a few draft picks to acquire DeAngelo from Carolina and signed him to a two-year, $10-million deal.

In addition to bringing in the infamous figure, the Flyers were unable to bring the local lad to the team, as Salem, New Jersey's Gaudreau opted to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets instead. Tortorella also believes that people sometimes don't understand what happens behind the scenes and should just get over it.

"But everybody's upset about Johnny G, that Johnny G wasn't signed,” Tortorella said. “Any general manager would be interested in a guy like that and I'm sure Chuck [Fletcher] was. But there's sometimes the lay of the land, where your contracts are at, where your cap's at and where your team's at, quite honestly. Is it time to sign a free agent like that? I think we have a little bit of building to do here and a little bit of growing."

It is true that most teams, after finishing near the bottom of the standings, don’t go out and sign one of the top players to ever hit the open market in recent memory. But, the story writes itself, as the Flyers were out of cap room and unwilling to pay the significant price to offload some big contracts to allow for Gaudreau to come home.

The Flyers will be aiming to grow into at least a moderately competitive team after hiring Tortorella to be their head coach last month. If nothing else, they will keep on being an entertaining mess.

Philadelphia is Tortorella’s fifth NHL head coaching job since making his debut behind the bench in the 2000-01 season. He most recently was in charge of the Blue Jackets and earned his one and only Stanley Cup ring as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.

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