The Philadelphia Flyers made a major coaching change when they brought in veteran National Hockey League head coach John Tortorella last month, signalling a major shift in their approach given Tortorella's reputation as a demanding taskmaster behind the bench.
Based on my own anecdotal evidence the move appears to have been well received overall but that's not to say that it hasn't been without its detractors. In spite of his success behind the bench as a coach at the NHL level, including a Stanley Cup championship, Tortorella has always been something of a controversial figure when it comes to coaches and has earned both positive and negative reviews from his players over the years.
It's not always easy to tell which one you're going to get when it comes to Tortorella but recently, a man with first hand experience under the guidance of Tortorella shared his thoughts on the man. What makes it all the more interesting is that man is none other than Scott Hartnell, a beloved former member of the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Perhaps there is no better player who can really give the Flyers an idea of what they can expect.
"Torts came in and it was like an overhaul," said Hartnell with wide eyes and a grin on his face. "He's a character, he's demanding, mentally he will tear you down into nothing and then he will build everybody back up the same way."
Hartnell would go on to describe one particular negative experience he had with Tortorella, one of the first healthy scratches of his NHL career, and how it actually turned out to be quite the positive.
"Next game my number is not on the lineup for practice," said Hartnell. "So I'm the extra forward, feel stupid obviously one of my first times being healthy scratched after 1100 games. So I go and talk to him and we kind of had it out a little bit and he goes 'I appreciate you coming in here and talking to me like a man.'"
Hartnell admitted that the conversation in that moment got pretty heated with "a couple of f-bombs" being tossed around, but would also go on to admit that when he got back in the lineup he scored 4 goals in the following 5 games.
Overall Hartnell appeared to generally approve of Tortorella's methods and even described Tortorella as a coach not afraid to admit when he's made a mistake. If you would like to listen to his full comments on the head coach you can check out the video below.