Why Flyers coach John Tortorella doesn’t want players using iPads on the bench

On Dec. 13, earlier than a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella praised veteran ahead James van Riemsdyk for his willingness to show younger players — like his new linemates Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett — whereas on the bench between shifts.

“I can see him speaking with them on the bench,” Tortorella mentioned. “I believe for a few of the younger guys who assume they’ll exit and simply play and never handle what is going on on, the momentum of the sport, or possibly not even going over their final shift of their head. I do not assume you study. I believe he is form of a participant that may train alongside the method throughout the sport for these guys. “

That very evening, NBC Sports Philadelphia picked up a shot of van Riemsdyk and Frost, huddled over the bench iPad after a shift, possible breaking down the whole lot that went proper and flawed.

That form of impromptu iPad instruction will not be taking place anymore, although. Per Tortorella, the iPads had been pulled off the bench for the foreseeable future earlier than the Flyers’ 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals.

“We took the video off the bench as a result of we want them to simply fear about their subsequent shift,” Tortorella mentioned. “I believe it is a main downside with us, understanding the momentum of the sport. You cannot perceive moments of the sport should you’re taking a look at the iPad all the time. We took them off and are not even going to make use of them, in order that they watch the sport and see what’s subsequent.”

Predictably, the obvious anti-technology transfer from Torts had social media in an uproar the subsequent day, over one other choice that fed into the notion of Tortorella as an old-school coach, not even prepared to let the children have a look at an digital pill throughout video games.

Tortorella’s response?

“I do not give a flying s— of how I’m perceived. I actually do not,” he mentioned Friday.

Classic Torts, in different phrases.

“If I’m in the enterprise to attempt to make everyone blissful and be perceived as no matter you want to understand, I do not know. That’s a tricky strategy to dwell. I actually do not pay an excessive amount of consideration to it.”

It helps, after all, that Tortorella’s new anti-iPad stance is not fairly a traditional instance of “outdated man yells at cloud,” both. There’s a thought course of behind it, an try to answer a team-wide downside that goes again weeks, in his thoughts. In reality, Tortorella was preoccupied with it on Dec. 13, the similar day he praised JvR for his educating mentality. The crew had fallen behind 4-3 to the Arizona Coyotes in the third interval two days earlier than due to an enormous breakdown that led to a Nick Ritchie breakaway purpose. Tortorella was nonetheless stewing on it.

“We must handle video games higher,” he mentioned. “We cannot get to make a play when it is 3-3 and quit a breakaway. We should not also have a faceoff alignment like that. So managing the conditions in the video games after we’re in it at the finish, I believe that is the greatest factor we have to enhance at proper now.”

His take is that the fixed focus on the iPad whereas on the bench is hurting players — significantly younger players — and their skill to handle video games. Instead of listening to present-moment sport motion, they’re taking a look at the display screen and focusing an excessive amount of on performs that already occurred.

“We have a serious downside understanding flows of video games. That is the greatest motive for (banning the iPads),” he defined Friday. “Understanding the circulate of the sport, momentum swings. I believe it is so necessary to study that, as a younger crew.”

Turning to the iPad after each shift, in his opinion, is definitely counterproductive to preserving a participant’s head in the sport because it occurs. It’s not serving to them enhance — it is resulting in extra errors.

“I do not want them overthinking,” he mentioned. “I do not want them occupied with (their final shift) if you’re up in one other possibly minute and a half — and possibly I’ll throw you out the subsequent shift.”

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Travis Konecny ​​— the wrongdoer on that breakdown resulting in the Ritchie breakaway on Dec. 13 — was one in all the greatest iPad offenders, in Tortorella’s estimation.

“He’s one in all the ones that appears at that rattling factor all the time,” Tortorella grumbled on Wednesday.

But the elimination of the tablets did not appear to harm Konecny ​​an excessive amount of if his hat trick towards the Capitals was any indication.

“Yeah, he may need been upset that the iPads had been gone tonight,” Scott Laughton cracked after the sport. “He’s fairly good at taking a look at it after each shift.”

On the complete, nonetheless, it looks as if the younger players on the crew perceive Tortorella’s reasoning behind the choice.

“I favored to take a look at them generally, yeah. Even the final sport, I keep in mind a few occasions I reached again to search for it and it wasn’t there,” Frost mentioned. “I imply, I believe it is a good factor. Sometimes you get a bit of too caught up in them. It’s good for us as players, generally you want to look at what occurred, however at the similar time, generally you are simply taking a look at it to take a look at it. I believe he is proper in the sense that it may be distracting.”

Might the choice get Tortorella dubbed a Luddite in some corners of social media? Sure.

But he doesn’t care.

“You know, expertise, everyone thinks expertise is nice. Sometimes it’s,” he conceded. “There’s some necessary stuff to it. Sometimes it is not. And I believe this can be a time that it’s not.”

It’s not like Flyers players have utterly misplaced the skill to rewatch performs in-game. There’s nonetheless the built-in video display screen behind the benches at the Wells Fargo Center, which Tortorella famous Wednesday — with only a trace of remorse — they can not bodily take away. And there’s nonetheless the video room utilized by the assistant coaches in the locker room between durations if players actually want to revisit a particular sequence.

But the iPads are gone. And do not count on them again anytime quickly.

“I’m form of locked in (on) what I believe is greatest for the crew, and I’ve to make these calls,” Tortorella mentioned. “Now, if my boss feels I’m not making the proper calls, that is if you lose your job. But I owe my complete strategy of considering to the players. And I believe that is the proper factor for our group.”

That’s to not say he desires veterans like JvR to cease educating or citing previous performs to his youthful teammates throughout video games, after all. In reality, a month after praising van Riemsdyk’s willingness to take action, he introduced it up once more Friday.

“I watched JvR on the bench the different evening, he grabbed each his linemates,” Tortorella mentioned. “I’m not going to let you know what he mentioned to him, nevertheless it was the correct factor to say.”

van Riemsdyk can nonetheless train the children. Just with out the iPad.

(Photo: Michael Martin / NHLI through Getty Images)


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