John Tortorella on today's NHL: 'It's a young, dumb league'

John Tortorella was once again a quote machine in a pre-game interview with the NHL on TNT crew before his Philadelphia Flyers took on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. (Getty Images)
John Tortorella was once again a quote machine in a pre-game interview with the NHL on TNT crew before his Philadelphia Flyers took on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. (Getty Images)

As has been well documented, when you put John Tortorella behind a microphone, wild things are prone to happen.

Whether it’s succinctly telling NBC Sports Philadelphia that his team has no redeeming qualities, calling out his players with an insult straight out of a grade 10 biology textbook, or providing this gem of an in-game interview, when Tortorella has something to say, the hockey world listens.

Ahead of the Flyers' Friday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, we got another dose of classic Torts, as the Philadelphia bench boss once again had plenty to say to the NHL on TNT crew pre-game.

“It’s a young dumb league,” the former Jack Adams winner told Paul Bissonette when asked about coaching the newest generation of NHL stars. “There are so many more mistakes made now in our game than back in the day.”

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Tortorella did share, however, that he does feel it’s important to change as a coach, to ensure skippers get the absolute most out of their group.

“Coaches, we’ve evolved, I think you have to because I used to be that ‘dot the i, cross the t’ and forecast what the game was going to be before it’s played. Now I think you need to allow them to live through some of those mistakes for them to mature.”

In saying that, however, it was very clear that, to Tortorella, the most important aspect of his job was to push his players to their limit and help them grow as players.

“It’s so sensitive nowadays as far as how you can lean on a player and the expectations are,” he shared with Rick Tocchet, a former NHL coach himself. “You have to coach people differently, but I think it’s our job to push athletes to areas that they’re not comfortable and to make them better.”

Always the sage mind, the coaching veteran of 21 seasons also shared his thoughts on aspiring coaches, and their tendencies to lean into the numbers in an increasingly analytical game.

“Don’t lose your [gut] as far as how you think the game should be played,” he said. “I think the stomach and the eyeballs are so important to our game, and I think we’re losing some of that.”

Finally, Anson Carter checked in on Tortorella’s relationship with the media given his presence on the other side of the divide last season, and if he had any newfound sympathy. Predictably Torts was right to the point with his answer.

“No.”

Classic.

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