Flyers head coach John Tortorella said a lot in a short amount of time in Monday’s postgame press conference. In the midst of his praise for goaltender Ivan Fedotov, who was thrown into his NHL debut in relief, Tortorella called the team’s play “soft,” stated Fedotov “was the only player who played” in the second period, and called out that some players “don’t have a clue how to play or just don’t have it in them to play in these types of situations.”

On Wednesday, the fire remained as Tortorella provided further detail to his coaching style and the unlikely spot the Flyers find themselves in with six games remaining in the regular season. If Monday was a passion-filled postgame reaction that clocked in at just under two minutes, this was a 15-minute detailed exchange into the depths of what goes on behind the scenes.

Tortorella discussed being able to block out the noise from the outside about expectations, what’s happening now as the team has struggled of late, and what is to come.

“I think this is a pretty special group, and I think all athletes need to learn to tune stuff out,” Tortorella said. “And I think they’ve done a really good job of that. I think it’s a group that’s just locked in together and I don’t think too much is going to affect them.

“I think this is such a great spot to be for us where we’re at. And I’ll give you, I know we didn’t think we were going to be here. But we’re here. That’s the point I’m trying to make. We’re here. Don’t talk yourself down. Talk yourself up and don’t let other people talk yourself down. I think it’s a great challenge for us here and I’m looking forward to how the coaches handle it and I’m really looking forward to how the players handle it and see if we can find our way.”

Following Tortorella’s comments postgame, there were many wondering if the Flyers head coach could be wearing out his welcome on the locker room. Tortorella knows that this label has followed him and will continue to, but isn’t straying from doing the job by pushing his players to be better.

“It always comes down to ‘oh, they’re going to quit on him.’ It follows me around and so be it,” Tortorella said. “If a player’s going to quit on me or players quit on me because I'm trying to make them better people and better athletes, you’ve got the wrong damn coach here and you’ve got the wrong damn people here.

“My job is I’m going to push athletes. I have other things on my mind that I don’t give you. I was in control the other night. What I said, I meant. And quite honestly, when I watch the tape now, I’m more concerned than just the second period. I’m so proud of the team getting here. I guess now the narrative now is that ‘they’re young, they’re not supposed to be here.’ Bull****. We’re here. We’re here. Face it. And let’s be better. And I don’t think we’re ready to be better and that’s my problem with us right now.

“And it’s my job. I have not done a good enough job to get them over the hump after playing those seven games and then each game as it goes down. I haven’t done a good enough job to make them understand we have to be different now. We have to be at a different level. That’s my frustration with me and my frustration with the team, and if people can’t handle it, so be it.”

Tortorella’s main focus is on the time of year. With the Flyers six games away from the end of the regular season and the playoff still a possibility, reaching the next step requires reaching the next level in how you play.

“From day one, when you could see this room come together, I love coming to the rink and working with these guys. But it’s my job to make sure they understand where we’re at now,” Tortorella said. “We’re not regular season now. We have put ourselves in this spot. Let’s not fade away and say ‘you know what, we’re not even supposed to be here.’ That sucks. We’re here. I want to make sure we’re going to go at this the proper way, so on April 16, we don’t say ‘why didn’t I do that?. Why didn’t we get to that level?’ I don’t want regrets.

“I don’t know if we get in. I don’t know what happens. But I don’t want us to fade now. It’s about getting to another level. And I do think some guys are struggling to get there, and I think it can be taught. Some guys have it in them. But to get to another level, a level that you don’t think you know about, that can be taught. That’s part of my job. That’s what I want to happen. Whether we succeed or not, at least we can look ourselves in the mirror at the end of it and say we tried. We’re not there now. We have time to get there, but we’re running out of it.”

The communication between players and coaches is key to this and Tortorella reflected on how he feels things could have gone better of late. But one thing that he wanted to make clear was that everyone in the organization from top to bottom is aligned in being as transparent and honest as possible.

“I think if you handle it the right way, it helps a team. I know we have a close group down there,” Tortorella said. “One thing we are – from coaches, Danny [Briere], [Keith Jones], the players – we are transparent down there. There’s no wondering what the guy’s thinking. To me, that’s the most important thing is from our ownership right on down that we’re transparent with one another. I think that’s so important, especially when we’re in this situation and building this team.

“Everybody has a chance to say what they want to say, and I think that’s really important. What happens if you’re truthful and you’re honest and you care? There’s going to be conflict, because not everybody is going to agree. You work through that together, I think that helps the room even more. I think that’s what’s gone on here and I think it’s really healthy. Everybody gets freaked out around us sometimes when there’s some truth said or honesty brought out. I think it’s so healthy because there’s no agenda. I think that’s so important for a locker room.”

You can view Tortorella’s 15-minute media availability following Wednesday’s practice below:

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.

Philadelphia Flyers Uniforms Through The Years


More From 97.3 ESPN