PISSED-OFF TORTS DEFENDS FLYERS GM FLETCHER, TONY DE ANGELO!

By Jenny Masters

The Flyers didn’t even swing, although they did miss out on the biggest free agent of this summer, Johnny Gaudreau.

But they did hire a Stanley Cup-winning coach on John Tortorella, who won it with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.

They had better players than these down-and-out Flyers.

And Tortorella flashed his well-known anger yesterday in a phoner with NBCSP:

“I’ve got to see the players play. I know you’re talking about free agency, I know that Chuck has been criticized through the free agent time here,” Tortorella said.

“I’m a little pissed off about some of the things said about a couple of the players and Tony DeAngelo, at least some of the things I’ve read. I haven’t read them all, I don’t spend my day trying to listen to everybody, what they’re talking about.

“But everybody’s upset about Johnny G, that Johnny G wasn’t signed. Any general manager would be interested in a guy like that and I’m sure Chuck was. But there’s sometimes the lay of the land, where your contracts are at, where your cap’s at and where your team’s at, quite honestly. Is it time to sign a free agent like that? I think we have a little bit of building to do here and a little bit of growing.”

The Flyers traded longtime captain Claude Giroux at last season’s deadline, and over the last two seasons have allowed 3.56 goals per game, tied for worst in the NHL, and sported a 74.6 penalty kill percentage, last in the league.

“The thing that bothers me and some of the things I’ve read is people are upset about Tony DeAngelo,” Tortorella said.

“Tony DeAngelo’s a hell of a player, Tony DeAngelo has personality. Is he going to say and do some stupid stuff? You’re damn right he is. But I’d rather have a guy doing stupid stuff than having a choir boy here just going about your business. You don’t win that way, you don’t win championships, you don’t build a team without any personality. Tony’s going to bring that and, plus, he’s a hell of a player.

“Nic Deslauriers, another one. A number of teams were after him and what he can bring. He can bring some toughness, he can kill penalties, he’s a good pro.

“It pisses me off, some of the things that have been said about those guys because I think everybody wanted the big splash. Well, we have to wait our turn for that big splash. We still have some things to do with our foundation of the team and maybe when our cap releases and contracts are moved or things are sorted out that way, maybe that’s when you look for that.”

“I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the noise, I don’t,” Tortorella said. “But I’ve been privy to a number of different articles and conversations since I’ve been hired, because I was involved in all of that, and I listen to some of the stuff and you’re God damn right it fuels me as far as how negative it has gotten.

“Listen, I’ll say, we make our own bed, too. I think we were third from the last, I’m not sure where we were, 61-point team? You’ve got to take some s—, too. But I really look forward to the challenge of this. I appreciate, but it also fuels me, some of the media and how it’s all perceived, how they’re talking about the team. They have a perfect right to talk about the way it is now because of where we’re at.

“But it also gives me, and more importantly I hope it gives our players, a little bit of fire as far as getting it straightened out, let’s get it back on the rails.”

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