Sean Couturier’s agent publicly calls out John Tortorella, slams the veteran coach after the first healthy scratch of an NHL captain in ten(!) years

John Tortorella is not one to never take uncomfortable and controversial decisions.

He is never afraid to speak his mind about something, and throughout his lengthy NHL career, in which he won the Jack Adams Award as NHL’s top coach, he’s never been afraid to make controversial choices regarding his teams.

If a rookie makes a mistake, Torts could easily bench him for the rest of the game. But that’s the case with veterans as well.

Tortorella scratched Morgan Frost in ten of the Flyers’ first 20 games earlier this season.

He’s since been a crucial player in the Flyers’ second half of the season. Joel Farabee was benched for 59 minutes in a game against the Devils after an early mistake that cost a goal. After that, he had 14 points in the next 15 games.

Tortorella isn’t afraid to make these kinds of decisions, and he always hopes they will help the team. And that’s the case with Sean Couturier as well. 

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 01: Sean Couturier #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Washington Capitals during the first period at Capital One Arena on March 1, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Couturier, the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, has just one goal in his last 27 games and one assist in his last nine. He was a healthy scratch against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Even for the Torts, scratching the team captain is unusual. It was even the first time a captain in the NHL was scratched during a game since Ed Jovanovski in 2013-14.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – OCTOBER 29: Head Coach of the Philadelphia Flyers John Tortorella reacts to the play on the ice during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center on October 29, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Couturier told the media he’d only spoken to Tortorella ”somewhat” about the scratch, and now, the captain’s agent, Erik Lupien, calls out the veteran coach.

“Throughout last year and at the beginning of (this) year, in the conversations with Sean, he always told me that Tortorella and him had a pretty good relationship,” Lupien told The Athletic. “As soon as we get through that character, he’s a pretty funny guy. And the conversations are good with him, and he knows what the team wants and what he wants from him.

“From my point of view, when I saw the news (Couturier was scratched), I’m like, I really hope the communication why and the reasons why are really clear. I hope he’s going to get an explanation soon because he’s the captain, a leader of the team, and he has ‘Philadelphia’ tattooed on his chest since he got drafted. That’s why he wanted to sign there and to sign a long contract. I hope he’s going to get that respect from John Tortorella.”

TEMPE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 07: Head coach John Tortorella of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on from the bench during a game against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena on December 07, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lupien also spoke about his client not being an ordinary player, or a young rookie, and that scratching him may have a different effect than Torts is hoping for.

“Sean won’t learn anything by being in the bleachers tonight,” Lupien said. “He’s not a second-year pro that went through a cold streak. Sean is a leader and the captain of this team, so by putting him in the bleachers, for a player, he’s going to be ashamed to be there tonight. If there’s no communication of why between the two, in 2024, from my perspective, it ain’t always good to coach and establish regimental fear. And these guys are in the playoff picture.”

Lupien also slammed the non-communication, which seems to have been the case with the healthy scratch.

“With your captain, you have to work together as a team. You want to send a message to the other guys, it has to go through your captain and your assistant. So now you’re not communicating with him. So, OK, what’s next?”

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