Flyers coach John Tortorella pushes Day 1 at full throttle, loves it a little “ugly as hell”

FORHEES, NJ – Mason Millman grabbed a bottle of water and cleaned up some of what he couldn’t keep behind the bench.

The 21-year-old defensive prospect had the unenviable task of being among the first group to make it through John Tortorella’s infamous Day 1 of skateboarding until he practically collapsed.

This is skating and skating and skating. Lap after lap after lap. Down and back then down and back.

At 8:30

Millman, far from being the only player to be hunched over after, saw the big boss give him a pat on the shoulder for support.

How to say: So much to do, boy. you have finished. Here’s what it is.

Tortorella was hyped Thursday when the Flyers kicked off the 2022 training camp in grueling style.

No disc. All skating.

Each of the four groups skated for about 27 minutes to catch one of the two ice sheets at the Flyers Training Center.

Sessions included about 17 minutes of laps that would stretch in distance as the assistants trained the nets from the top of the hoops to the goal area. After the laps were highs and lows, skating from goal line to goal line for 10 minutes.

“For me, it’s not physical. For them it is. You look at them and it has to be,” Tortorella said. “I understand and appreciate it. But for me, I’m looking at the mental part. … Especially with a new team, there will be mental and physical tests when they don’t even know what’s going on I was really happy with how the guys behaved today.

“There will be tougher skates than today as we cross the field. It’s not to pound our chests and just bury them. We want to test them and a camaraderie develops. They look at you like, ‘You’re not going to come to me.’ I think it’s the attitude we’re trying to develop is a will. “

With a Stanley Cup ring and two Jack Adams Awards on his resume, 64-year-old Tortorella was hired in June as the new Flyers coach. He was brought on board, in large part, to change the club’s culture, which went 25-46-11 last season.

“Last year, we faced a lot of adversity, on and off the ice,” said Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher. “Clearly we have not faced the challenges we have faced, there is no way to avoid it. It was an extremely disappointing season, the one we lived with all summer and certainly the one that prompted us to make the changes we made, both in and out of the Ice.

“But this year is a clean slate for everyone – John made that very clear to the players. We know there are a lot of skeptics, a lot of people who don’t believe we are a good hockey team. I know our players are eager to prove. who are wrong, we all are “.

Nicolas Deslauriers is one of the newcomers to the Flyers. The robust winger signed a four-year contract in July. As Tortorella watched Deslauriers start working on his laps, he went to assistant coach Brad Shaw a little worried.

“We were probably two reps in the skate and I went to Shawsy and I said, ‘S —, Shawsy, I’m not sure what’s going to happen here with Nic,'” Tortorella said. “I was serious. And I looked at that boy and he was ugly as hell, but he succeeded. He never stopped. He ended up where he was supposed to.”

Tortorella was passionate as he talked about it. He felt that something had been accomplished through ugliness.

“I went to Nic later, I said, ‘I hope other guys have seen it.’ I said: ‘I don’t care what it looks like as long as the finish line was there,’ “Tortorella said. “She came to the office after the skate and we talked about it a bit. It’s little important things.”

Tony DeAngelo, another off-season addition, got a laugh when he sat in the upstairs press conference room of the Flyers Training Center.

“I was trying to find an elevator to go up here,” he said.

The legs were asking for a break.

Had he ever had a first day where there was no use of records?

“No,” he said with a laugh. “But that’s okay, change things, so that’s okay.

“It’s a mixture of all of that. Getting fit, getting ready for the start of the season, but mentally too, I’m sure everyone is thinking there, you can’t wait for it to be done. But how could you push hard in the last two laps, three laps, four laps? Then after that, you also have the ups and downs of six. It’s a difficult day. He knows what he’s doing.

Wade Allison is in good health and looking to win over a new coaching staff. He is pushing for a spot on the roster and enjoyed being pushed by Tortorella on Thursday.

“Today he was not supposed to kill us, today he was supposed to let us know that it is about will,” he said. “And tomorrow it will be the same.

“Find him deep inside and keep pushing, push yourself to be the best you can be. He’s trying to get it from the best players all the way.”

Flyers have more than 60 healthy players in the field. Tortorella was “thrilled that everyone would arrive early” before the camp.

“I’ve been here since September 1st, most of the veterans, some of the guys came a little later,” he said. “I think they did a good job together in this way and a bit of camaraderie as well.”

The Flyers were hit hard by injuries last season. They too have to deal with them now.

It only adds to Tortorella’s challenge here in Philadelphia.

“When I crossed the bridge and saw the city of Philly, I love coming to this building because sometimes how good it was, it helps the home team, but sometimes it helps the away team even more. You walk into a building that is vivo Tortorella said. “This is my hope is that if we start doing the things we should be doing, behaving like we should and just devote the time to the effort, it would bring people back here so we can get it kind of vibe.

“A before B. I know we want to look at our record and the wins and losses and the playoffs and bullshit like that, but I just want us to take the right path in terms of how we are as professionals, a group and how we are. as a team “.

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