Tortorella easy target for Flyers

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:39 PM ET


 With so many off days in the Eastern Conference final, the upper echelon of the Philadelphia Flyers has found Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella to be a source of amusement.

 "He's Italian. He's from Boston. He's probably a Red Sox fan, so he's got three strikes against him right there," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said yesterday.

 Tortorella, who often appears devoid of all social graces, has a confrontational style and earlier in the series, after insisting that he would talk only about his own team, accused Flyers general manager Bob Clarke of complaining about calls.

 Then he complained about Hitchcock's comments from the bench and shouted, "Shut your yap!"

 "It's fun and what the heck?" Hitchcock said. "But he kind of picked the wrong horse going after Clarkie, though. Clarkie, he's got more of an angry side to him."

 In fact, Clarke first referred to Tortorella as "a pathetic little man," and now calls him, "The Great Tortellini."

 NO MIRRORS

 "He thinks we call the league," Clarke scoffed. "But we don't. The Great Tortellini! There are no mirrors in his house. It's always somebody else's fault."

 When Tortorella's name came up on Sunday, Hitchcock laughed and asked, "Is he back out of that gopher hole again?" Then he imitated hammering gophers with a mallet in a popular midway game.

 "Well, it was the only game I could win at," Hitchcock explained.

 The most popular chant in Philadelphia during the Flyers' Game 4 victory was, "Shut your yap! Shut your yap!"


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