Cam Atkinson reveals the truth of playing under John Tortorella

The hard-nosed bench boss has a reputation.



Veteran coach John Tortorella is in his second season behind the bench of the Philadelphia Flyers, and despite a pedestrian first year, he now has the team playing as a fully functioning unit and in prime position to earn a playoff berth. And as is his reputation, Tortorella pulls no punches and tells it how he sees it - regardless of how literally anyone else feels about it. 

And while he's gained a reputation of being hard-nosed, there's always been a method to the madness. 

For Flyers forward Cam Atkinson, who spent six years with the Columbus Blue Jackets under Tortorella's coaching tenure, he received a phone call from future Hall of Fame forward Martin St. Louis upon Tortorella's hiring. St. Louis provided Atkinson with insights into his new bench boss.

"He told me, 'If you're not going to put the effort in with Torts, you're not going to play,'" Atkinson said of the phone call from St. Louis. "Marty said, 'He's the person who made my career for me. You're going to have ups and downs, but he's going to push you to be the best you can be.'"

"I just think, everyone has bought into the ultimate goal and what we set out to do at the start of training camp. Torts expects us all to play a certain way, and if you're not gonna put the work in and give an effort day in and day out—that's one of Torts' non-negotiables—you're just not going to play," Atkinson continued.

Meanwhile, new Flyers captain Sean Couturier explained that playing for Tortorella isn't what he thought it would be, but that he'll always tell the truth and does whatever is needed to help the team win. 

"It's been different from what I personally thought. He's obviously a passionate coach with a lot of emotions, but he's all about team success. He does whatever he has to do to make the team win," Couturier told Bleacher Report. "That being said, he will be hard on you. But he's fair towards everyone. He's an honest coach; you'll always hear the truth out of him whether you like it or not."

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