Flyers’ HC Tortorella Fires Shots in Fedotov’s Debut: ‘Soft. Embarrassing.’

Ivan Fedotov of the Philadelphia Flyers

Getty Ivan Fedotov of the Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers are fighting to extend their season past the end of the regular portion of it, but if the results don’t improve soon they might be on the outside of the Stanley Cup playoffs looking in.

Following another loss, the fifth in a row for the Flyers and this time 4-3 to the New York Islanders in overtime, head coach John Tortorella described his team as “soft” and highlighted just one player as a notable contributor in Philadelphia’s defeat.

“Soft,” Tortorella told reporters in his postgame press conference on Monday, April 1, when asked about his assessment of the team. “One guy played–the goalie.”

That statement, made by Tortorella after he pulled the netminder named as the starter on Monday, was double damaging.

Samuel Ersson got the call ahead of the game and started for the Flyers on goal. The goaltender, however, was pulled after the first period with two goals allowed in six shots.

The decision, a surprising one with the game still at a manageable 2-1 disadvantage for the Flyers, was surprising and it opened the door for recently-signed Russian prospect Ivan Fedotov to make his NHL debut nine years after getting drafted by the franchise in 2015.

Ivan Fedotov Debuts, Inevitably Losses the Game, Goes to the Wrong Goal

Truth be told, things could have gone much more wrong for backup goalie Fedotov in his debut.

Fedotov finished Monday’s contest stopping 19 of the 21 shots he saw. He allowed two goals, yes, but he also kept the Flyers alive for the two periods he spent on Philadelphia’s crease and he earned the plaudits from coach Tortorella.

“It just didn’t look right with (Ersson),” Tortorella told reporters about the reasons for pulling the starter. “Totally impressed (with Fedotov). I put him in a hell of a spot. And he’s the only goddamn player that played in the second period.”

In a rather funny moment, Fedotov skated to the wrong of the Islanders when he entered the rink from the bench ahead of the second period.

The Flyers entered the second frame down 2-1 and exited it 3-2 behind New York, still at an arm’s race of pulling off the feat of conquering the Isles for their first win since March 23.

“I’m not (a) young guy,” Fedotov told reporters in his first NHL postgame press conference on April 1.

Asked if he was nervous about the possibility of making his debut, and whether or not coming in the middle of the game made things easier for him, Fedotov simply answered, “I don’t care, I have some experience, I know how it’s working.

“I don’t care playing from the first minute or during the game. I need to play, so it doesn’t matter,” Fedotov added. “I just want to help the team.”

The Flyers Lost Again, Their Fifth Consecutive Defeat, to the Islanders

It wasn’t meant to be for the Flyers on Monday, even though Philadelphia forced overtime thanks to a late goal by Morgan Frost with 10 seconds left in regulation.

Not even that effort, in a high-stakes game such as Monday’s, made head coach Tortorella see the outcome at least somewhat positively.

“There are certain people that they don’t have a clue how to play or just don’t have it in them to play in these type of situations,” Tortorella said. “That was embarrassing in the second period for the Philadelphia Flyer uniform the way we played. Embarrassing.”

By extending the game into overtime, however, the Flyers at least earned the loser’s point falling 4-3 in the extra period.

“Very important one point,” Fedotov told reporters. “Second period, of course, we should play more aggressive. Third period was really much better.

“Next game will come, and we will battle again.”

Philadelphia lost their fifth consecutive game on Monday, has gone 0-3-2 in that span, and has only won 2 points of a possible 10. In fact, the Flyers have lost 15 of their last 22 games.

It might sound very much like a contradiction, but by losing their matchup against the Isles in overtime the Flyers actually moved up in the standings, from the second wild-card berth to the third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Flyers passed the Washington Capitals and are one point above them entering Tuesday, April 2. The Caps, however, have three games in hand over Philadelphia.

Read More