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AP source: Tortorella hired as coach by Philadelphia Flyers

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers have hired John Tortorella as their new coach, hoping the fiery veteran will help them win their first Stanley Cup since 1975.

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The hiring was confirmed Thursday by a person with direct knowledge of the decision, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was not announced. The official announcement was expected on Friday.

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Tortorella, who turns 64 next week, coached Tampa Bay and won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and coached the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He was fired in May 2021 after six seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Tortorella is the Flyers’ sixth coach in the past 10 years and will try to revive a dormant franchise that has only one playoff series win since 2012. were last in the capital division.

Under Tortorella, the Blue Jackets went 227-166-54, including a franchise best of 50-24-8 in 2016-17. But the wheels fell off during the terrible 2020-21 (18-26-12) season.

Tortorella is the second-most-winning American-born coach in NHL history. He is known for his occasional short temper and demanding, no-nonsense coaching style, and has clashed with his fair share of players over the years.

Flyers winger Cam Atkinson played under Tortorella in Columbus. He said that at the end of the season, the Flyers were “a pretty soft team” and a coach like Tortorella could help solidify any franchise.

“I think it all starts with practice. You train the way you play,” Atkinson said in April. “Especially when I turned pro, I learned about it from John Tortorella. He was excellent in this aspect. … I think next year we need to find a way to show more grit, more jam, more F you in our game, on both sides of the puck, in our crease, protecting our goaltender and in their crease.”

Flyers chairman David Scott said in January that he believes the franchise doesn’t need a lengthy year-long recovery plan and there was enough proven core to turn the team into a winner. Scott said he would give Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher “carte blanche” to fix the Flyers.

The Flyers are pinning their hopes on Travis Konecny, Joel Farabi, Travis Sunheim and goaltender Carter Hart as key figures for the future. The Flyers last played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010 and have not won a championship since winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.

Tortorella has been numbered 673-541-37-132 for nearly 20 seasons and has become the new coach of a plethora of candidates, including former Washington and Islanders coach Barry Trotz. Tortorella is only 56-64 in the playoffs with six outings from the first round.

This season, Tortorella worked for ESPN as part of studio coverage.


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