The Philadelphia Flyers enter their New Era of Orange in South Philadelphia on Tuesday night with their home opener against the Vancouver Canucks. The Flyers are in a bit of an interesting position as the front office has rebuild on its mind while still wanting to be competitive on the ice, especially with head coach John Tortorella.
Longtime NHL analyst Al Morganti of Audacy’s new original podcast “South Philly Sauce” explained the Flyers’ thought process with this rebuild and how it differs from the process the Sixers went through last decade.
“The message is twofold. One from the front office, which at times I think is they’re setting expectations very low; Jonesy and Briere doing the limbo to see who can get lower with the expectations,” Morganti said (19:30 in player above). “But then when they start the game, the expectations go sky-high.”
Tortorella won’t let his team tank. It’s simply not in his DNA. While the overarching vision is on the future, the product on the ice night in and night out still needs to perform.
“It’s much different than what the Sixers went through. The Sixers when they had that process, when they went through that thing, it was ‘OK, we’re going to be awful. We’re not going to sell any tickets. We’re going to have an empty building. And we’re going to hope for a top draft pick or whatever,’’ Morganti continued. “And the games looked like that.
“This is different. This is like we’re going to rebuild but you better play hard every night or you’re going to find yourself in the dressing room and you’re going to get cussed out by whomever. And the team leaders aren’t going to put up with it.”
While the Flyers may not have the talent and skill to compete with some of the best teams in the league, there is no excuse if the players don’t put the effort in. That’s easy to see with hockey as opposed to basketball.
“I think what they had to avoid was what happened to, in my opinion, the Sixers, ‘OK, losing’s not a big deal,’” Morganti continued. “It is a big deal! Even though you might lose, you still got to be mad that you lost and what cost you.
“I think that’s what the double message that’s been coming across. I think the fans have pretty much accepted it, but when you pay that money to go to the game, you want to see an effort. The value in hockey is because it’s so physical, you can see that effort.”