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Sean Couturier on the bench
Photo credit: Philadelphia Inquirer

Tortorella spoke about scratching Sean Couturier during the season

Published April 20, 2024 at 12:07
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The Philadelphia Flyers missed the playoffs as they mightily struggled down the stretch. A huge topic of discussion, during the season, was Sean Couturier being a
healthy scratch in back-to-back games. This move caused controversy among fans and the media as the long time Flyer was just recently name caption prior to being benched.

The benching may have only been two games, however, the conversation surrounding the benching lasted weeks and led many fans speculating that John Tortorella lost the locker room, and this could have been one of the factors.

When asked about the locker room issues between the players and coach during the end of season press conference, John Tortorella stated "Let me ask you a question. Why wouldn't I communicate with Sean if I'm taking him out of the lineup? Did you think to ask yourself that? Why wouldn't I? I did," Tortorella said on Friday. I'm not going to tell you what was said, but what happens in a gameday, I'll put the lineup up at eight o'clock in the morning. I was sitting out, Staalsy, Cam, I think Nic was out, and Sean. I went to them the day before. I sat with Sean; not going to tell you what I said, but we had a discussion as to why he was coming out. I didn't want him to come to the board in the morning and just see that he was out. "So, why would I want to disrespect him that way? Did you ask yourself that?"

Tortorella also commented on the fact that Couturier told the media that he just has to "leave his ego aside" as he thought he was playing fine.


"I know what Sean said to you guys after," the coach said. "It kind of caught me off-guard a little bit, but I think it's the first time Sean's been through something like that. So, it really wasn't a big deal for me. I think it turned into a big drama."

"It turned into a situation. I get that he's the captain and the timing of it all was not great. But I'm not going to — the captaincy is not going to stop me from holding people accountable. And if I determine that other players are playing better — and it was going on for a while, Sean struggled for a while prior to that — I'm going to make that call. I'll never ever, especially a player like Sean, and I talked to Cam the day before, I talked to Marc, because they're veteran guys. I don't want them coming to the board and saying "Shit, I'm out". Those conversations were had the day before. I'm always going to communicate in that type of situation."

It is clear, that John Tortorella believes he made the correct decision in benching Sean Couturier, even with the poor timing of just recently naming Couturier captain. Tortorella believed he was putting the best possible lineup out there to win the game, which is ultimately the coach's job. As John Tortorella stated, he communicates with all veterans that they will be a healthy scratch. There may never be unanimous agreement in benching Sean Couturier, but at least for now John Tortorella stands by his decision.

Source: Broad Street Hockey

John Tortorella opens up about Sean Couturier scratch fiasco
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April 20   |   125 answers
Tortorella spoke about scratching Sean Couturier during the season

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