Flyers analysis

‘Not enough' — Tortorella challenges Flyers at practice

With 26 games to go, the Flyers hold a playoff spot, sitting in third place of the Metropolitan Division

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VOORHEES, N.J. — As the players made their way to the adjacent rink at Flyers Training Center, switching ice surfaces midway through Monday's practice, John Tortorella huddled his team together.

The whistle to fire up the next drill wasn't blown for another four to five minutes.

The head coach gave his team an earful. He was heard repeating "not enough." He wanted "more from everybody."

A veteran coach like Tortorella, one with two Jack Adams honors and a Stanley Cup ring, knows when to lay into his team. The gathering wasn't solely about the practice level. It felt like a loud reminder for the stretch run.

"I just coached," Tortorella said with a smile.

Fair enough.

"Just in general, it was about stepping up," Sean Couturier said. "We need to be better. Some of us haven't been our best the last couple of games. It's on us, especially me; to get back to being the player I am and I just need to be better."

Couturier was named the Flyers' captain five days ago. Monday was the team's first day back from a busy weekend of outdoor activities at MetLife Stadium. The Flyers trailed for all but 31 seconds of the 2024 Stadium Series. They lost to the Devils, 6-3, and have given up 10 goals over their last two games (0-1-1). Prior to these back-to-back losses, the Flyers went on a four-game winning streak in which they allowed only seven goals.

"We're a young team, so maybe sometimes you kind of need to hear it," Couturier said of Tortorella's message. "I know I haven't been my best lately. I know I've got to be better and some other guys, too. But I'm not too worried. We're going to respond the right way and get back to playing some good hockey."

Tortorella felt the Flyers had a good practice. They're back on the ice Tuesday before heading to Chicago for a matchup Wednesday with the Blackhawks (7:30 p.m. ET/TNT), a game that "scares the s---" out of Tortorella.

The Flyers are coming off a divisional game under the national spotlight in front of 70,000-plus fans and they host the first-place Rangers on Saturday. The Blackhawks entered Monday with the fewest points in the NHL, but last week they saw the return of 18-year-old phenom Connor Bedard. The All-Star rookie missed almost six weeks because of a broken jaw.

"We all know where they are in the standings, but they're getting Bedard back and they're a really good team," Joel Farabee said. "They have some really good players and they're hard to play against. It's definitely a game we're not going to take lightly at all."

Tortorella said the outdoor game was a "great event" for the players and their families.

But it definitely set up a potential trap for his club in its surprise playoff push.

"That's what I'm worried about, Chicago plays hard and they're in all the games," Tortorella said. "I just don't want us to think outdoor game, Jersey, we just played Toronto and now we're playing a team that's last, right? I just don't want them to play with their minds because it's too important of a game for us.

"I just don't think you should disrespect any opponent. And I'm not saying we will, but I have to worry about that as a coach of a team. I have to worry about that after all the pomp and circumstance and all the stuff that goes on with this outdoor game.

"As I've said, I trust the team. I just want to make sure that we are dead set ready to play."

Marc Staal is in his sixth season playing for Tortorella. The defenseman and coach spent five years together with the Rangers.

Was this Tortorella just trying to get the Flyers going?

"It's more of paying attention to what has made us successful," Staal said. "I think we've gotten away from it a little bit as far as what we're doing away from the puck. It's all connected, so it starts with our work ethic away from the puck and just reminding us that's who we are, where we need to be better and the rest of our game will follow suit."

The Flyers hold a playoff spot with 26 games remaining. They're in third place of the Metropolitan Division and entered Monday with a 73 percent chance to make the postseason, according to's probabilities report.

A couple of practices came at a good time for Tortorella to hammer home some details.

"In such a long season, it's easy to get away from some of the little things a part of the game that help you win games," Farabee said. "Even just our last little stretch of games, just giving up goals from areas that we, in the beginning of the year, weren't giving up. Just cleaning some stuff up in the D-zone, being a little harder to play against I think is something we're focusing on now."

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