Flyers’ Goalie Sounds Off After Getting Pulled: ‘I Haven’t Talked to Tortorella’

Samuel Ersson of the Philadelphia Flyers

Getty Samuel Ersson of the Philadelphia Flyers

There might not be a more unstable team in the NHL with just a couple of weeks left before the end of the regular season than the Philadelphia Flyers.

Coming off an overtime loss on Monday, April 1, in which head coach John Tortorella pulled starting goalie Samuel Ersson entering the second period, the starter finally talked to reporters on Thursday to give his version of the story.

“I haven’t talked to him,” Ersson told reporters after practice on Thursday, April 4, per Jordan Hall of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I don’t think he needs to say anything.”

Speaking on Wednesday, following an earlier practice held by the Flyers this week and after the OT loss to the New York Islanders, Tortorella said he wants his team to be “better,” and that his job is to get the Flyers “over the hump,” as documented by Heavy.

“If a player is going to quit on me, or players are going to quit on me because I’m trying to make them better people or better athletes,” Tortorella told reporters on Wednesday, April 3, “you’ve got the wrong damn coach here, and you’ve got the wrong damn people here.”

Samuel Ersson Accepted John Tortorella’s Decision

No athlete likes getting removed from a game midway through it. That happened to Ersson on Monday as the Flyers entered the second frame of their game against the Islanders down 2-1.

Tortorella replaced Ersson with backup goalie and recent-signee Ivan Fedotov, who made his debut against the Isles but couldn’t prevent another loss–the fifth in a row–getting added to the Flyer’s record.

“It’s one of those moments when they feel like they need to make a change for the team just to try to muster up some energy into the team,” Ersson said on Thursday. “Those decisions are going to be made from time to time.

“For me, obviously you never want to get pulled, but it’s going to happen. I just reset and focus on the next challenge ahead.”

Ersson has been a key player for the Flyers since getting the No. 1 role on Philadelphia’s net following Carter Hart‘s leave of absence starting on January 23.

Throughout this regular season, Ersson has appeared in 44 games posting a  21-16-7 record. He’s allowing 2.81 goals-against on average while boasting a .891 save percentage.

Ersson acknowledged the fact that the tight and loaded schedule could be impacting his performance, which as dropped a bit of late.

“We’ve played a lot of games, especially last month,” Ersson said. “It felt like we played every other day for a whole month.”

John Tortorella Trusts Samuel Ersson and Appreciates His Contributions

From the coach’s side and point of view, things aren’t getting heated between him and his goalie. There is no beef between the pair and they trust each other normally.

“It’s a crazy situation with our goaltending this year,” Tortorella told reporters after practice on Thursday, April 4. “We don’t have a sniff of having an opportunity with six games left to get in if Sam Ersson doesn’t play the way he has played. “He has played a ton of hockey of late.”

Expanding on the reason for pulling him and bringing Fedotov to the ice against the Islanders, Tortorella also explained that move four days after it happened and after saying Fedotov was the “only player that played” in that contest in the postgame media availability held on April 1.

“That was the decision we made,” Tortorella started. “I just didn’t have confidence in some of the situations with our backups at that particular time.

“[Ersson] has probably played too much. But we have not lost a moment of confidence in Sam.”

Team Captain Sean Couturier, Out for the Next 2 Games

The Flyers are 0-3-2 in their last five games and 7-10-5 in their last 22, having lost 15 of those games. Adding wood to the fire, the team won’t have its captain available for the next two games.

Flyers GM Daniel Briere announced on Thursday, April 4, that Couturier “has an upper-body injury and is day-to-day.”

According to the announcement, “[Couturier] will not travel with the team and won’t be available the next two games.”

The captain, a healthy scratch recently with no apparent reason offered by Tortorella, has 11 goals and 25 assists this season in 70 games played.

Philadelphia is 36-29-11 and has racked up 83 points this season. That has the Flyers sitting in the No. 3 seed of the Metropolitan Division, just one point ahead of the Washington Capitals (82 points with a game in hand over the Flyers).

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