Hockey coaches come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. One of the most consistently unique is the Philadelphia Flyers bench boss John Tortorella, who has imposed his way of thinking once again.
His most recent crusade has been against the use of iPads on the bench, used by players and coaches to review plays in real-time. iPads and other tablets have become commonplace behind National Hockey League benches, instead of waiting in between periods to do any kind of video analysis.
Their incorporation around the league has received generally positive feedback, but not from Tortorella, who has finally banned them from the Flyers’ bench.
“I think it’s a major problem with us, understanding the momentums of the game,” said Tortorella. “You can’t understand the momentum of the game if you’re looking at the iPad all the time. We took them off and aren’t even going to use them so that they watch the game and see what’s next.
“If we’re going to keep on growing here, just get ready for the next shift,” Tortorella added Friday. “… With the iPad, you’re pointing out everything during a game; it’s almost like you have to (as a coach) because we just saw it. And we overcoach. I think we get in the way sometimes and we’re clouding their head with what just happened, instead of let’s try to take care of business on the next shift.”
When asked if he was worried that his recent obsession would make reinforce the "old-school" moniker he's known for, the 64-year-old was quite clear in his response.
“I don’t give a flying s*** how I’m perceived,” he replied. “I really don’t because it’s my job to coach the team. If I’m in the business to try to make everybody happy and be perceived (positively), that’s a tough way to live — and I really don’t pay too much attention to it. .. I’m kind of locked into what is best for the team, and I have to make those calls."
The decision appears to have helped spark some positive change as Philadelphia have won six of their last seven games. While they still sit in second-to-last place of an extremely competitive Metropolitan Division, this new-found focus has already generated a career year from forward Travis Konecny, who is well known around the club for regularly referring to the devices on the bench.
“Everyone was chirping me because I’m always watching them, but I don’t care.” Konecny joked after a hat trick performance in the Flyers’ 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals.
“He might’ve been upset that the iPads were gone tonight,” forward Scott Laughton said about his teammate. “He’s pretty good at looking at it after every shift.”
The Canadian center has good reason to brush off those comments, scoring nine goals and picking up another five assists during Philadelphia’s run of good form.
There’s no telling whether this could help the Flyers push for a wild-card spot in the second half of the season, but if they continue this run of form, then we could have one of the all-time great turnarounds in recent memory.
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