Are Tortorella and Vigneault that much different? Flyers clearly have work to do


When Chuck Fletcher summoned Alain Vigneault in April 2019, the Flyers were taking a much different route from their previous head coaching hire.

Dave Hakstol was brought in by Ron Hextall, fresh out of the college ranks and regarded for developing young talent long term.

Vigneault, Hakstol's full-time successor, oozed with experience and a winning track record.

That's how coaching turnover typically goes. When one way doesn't work, you try something different.

John Tortorella is now set to lead the Flyers behind the bench after Vigneault was fired in December with the club amid an 8-10-4 start. The Flyers finished 25-46-11 overall as interim head coach Mike Yeo clung to the steering wheel through a mess of a season.

But, tellingly, Tortorella and Vigneault aren't all that different.

Sure, Tortorella is fiery and Vigneault more savvy. Systematically, there's some contrast.

But there's a wide range of similarities when dissecting the profiles side by side.

Both are regarded for turning teams around quickly.

Both are known for an old-school, demanding style.

Both have presence.

Both have coached the Canucks, Rangers and now the Flyers.

Tortorella has won a Stanley Cup. Vigneault has been to the Final twice.

Tortorella has won the Jack Adams Award twice and is a five-time finalist. Vigneault has won it once and is a five-time finalist.

Tortorella has coached 1,383 games and won 673. Vigneault has coached 1,363 games and owns 722 wins.


Tortorella has 56 playoff victories. Vigneault has 78.

Why is all of this telling? Because Vigneault never actually got a full season in Philadelphia. He was here and suddenly gone. All of his experience, all of his winning — in and then out.

His successful first year saw the regular season paused and then cut short because of the coronavirus. After a second-round Game 7 loss in the bubbled playoffs, the Flyers stumbled the following two seasons. Vigneault's second year was also abbreviated because of the pandemic. Year 3, he was fired 22 games into the season.

A pretty quick tenure for a coach who is eighth in all-time wins and had previous long stays in pressure-filled markets.

The Flyers are not just a coach away from being fixed. Tortorella is good but he doesn't come with a magic wand.

No doubt, the Flyers need better health.

No doubt, they could use some more luck.

No doubt, they have some pieces and prospects.

But the Flyers' real work begins this offseason as Fletcher stares down another massive summer.

How much different will the Flyers look?

It'll be up to the GM to spearhead a potential rebound. As the Flyers aggressively retool, Fletcher said everything is on the table.

What the Flyers give Tortorella might be more important than what he gives them.

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