Elliotte Friedman on Flyers' head coach search: John Tortorella has 'legitimate shot'

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NHL insider says Tortorella 'exactly the kind of person' Flyers are looking for originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Management has desperately wanted the Flyers to be a tougher team to play against and the players know it.

The numbers show they have been easy to play against. As they've missed the playoffs the last two seasons, the Flyers have surrendered 3.56 goals per game over that span, a mark that is tied for worst in the NHL.

"It goes back to being a harder team to play against in front of those fans because they expect it, they demand it," Scott Laughton said last month at his end-of-the-season press conference. "Wins, losses, but they expect you to work hard every night and be hard to play against. We have to get back to that — get back to sellouts, be fun to watch in that arena and make it fun again."

A system can be implemented and a mindset can be ignited by the guy holding the whistle.

Is John Tortorella the guy to make it happen in Philly? Well, he has interviewed for the Flyers' head coaching job, a source confirmed Tuesday to NBC Sports Philadelphia. And he has a track record of getting his teams to play the right way by preaching accountability and discipline.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said Wednesday night in an interview on the NHL Network that he believes Tortorella is held in high regard among the Flyers' front office.

General manager Chuck Fletcher is a big listener. Perhaps those in the Flyers' inner circle are speaking highly of the old-school Tortorella.

"I think they're still very much in the process," Friedman said of the Flyers' head coaching search. "I absolutely believe Tortorella is a legitimate contender there, though. I think they are looking for a veteran, demanding presence. He certainly qualifies under all that criteria. I think that's exactly the kind of person that they're looking for."

Friedman mentioned Kirk Muller as a candidate of interest, while also highlighting Barry Trotz, Rick Tocchet and Jim Montgomery, all three of whom we profiled here:

• Is Trotz the Flyers' guy? The case for why and why not

• Want butts back in seats? This Flyers coaching candidate would elicit real buzz

• Possible coaching candidate for Flyers has some Philly ties, is still in playoffs

"But I do think that John Tortorella is somebody who appeals to a chunk of the Flyer organization at least," Friedman said. "I think when you think about some of the longtime Flyers, like Bob Clarke, who still have influence in the organization, I think Tortorella is exactly the kind of person that they believe in. Anybody who discounts Tortorella's candidacy for this job would be foolish. I think he has a legitimate shot at it."

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