Or maybe delusional is the word.
I think all the coverage today has been pretty solid about the pros and cons of this move, and the pros and cons of Torts in general. Best-case he probably squeezes what he can out of this roster and there's winning - but certainly not championship - hockey. Worst-case it's more of the same and the rebuild will be some other GM and coach's problem. But since they very plainly aren't rebuilding, there wasn't gonna be anything other than a retread coach.
Athletic has the most material on the old-guard's fingerprints:
Let’s start with Fletcher and his core group, which includes assistant GM Brent Flahr and special assistant to the GM Danny Briere. There were rumblings this week that Fletcher and the rest of hockey ops were not necessarily on board with the decision to pick Tortorella, but that doesn’t fit with my understanding of the process. Multiple sources denied any rift within different sections of the organization. In the end, I do believe this was Fletcher’s call.
Then, there are the old guard advisers, namely Bob Clarke and Paul Holmgren. My understanding is that both have long been high on the possibility of Tortorella coaching the Flyers. I don’t believe they were especially active in this summer’s process, particularly in the weeks leading up to the final decision. But it was fairly clear that they would be on board with this hire, and Fletcher has long valued their opinions, particularly Clarke, who helped give him his start in the industry years ago.
Tortorella, of course, is an old-school, even “Philly-type” coach. Philadelphia fans tend to love a fiery, passionate coach — think Buddy Ryan with the Eagles in the 1980s and early 1990s, and Peter Laviolette in the early 2010s — and those two words define the personality and style of Tortorella. His recent comments about Zegras, while anathema to many younger fans, likely ring very true with the old guard, who not only would be more likely to agree with him but also would respect that he had the guts to speak them aloud.
One of the major focuses of this particular contingent of the brain trust is that “the Flyers remain the Flyers,” a duty entrusted to Holmgren by none other than Ed Snider before his death. Tortorella is certainly the most traditionally “Flyers” head coach the organization has had since Laviolette, in addition to being the kind of big-name add that the Flyers want to believe they can still attract.