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TORONTO — John Tortorella has opinions.


Framed around Saturday’s Ridly Greig empty-net slap shot and Morgan Rielly’s violent response to such disrespect, the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers was asked Thursday morning for his take on hockey’s cultural shift when it comes to the influx of brash new youth.

“Oh, my God. It is a different league. I gotta be really careful how I say it,” Tortorella began, taking a moment before delivering a calm, thoughtful response. “Well, it’s a dumb league. It is. It’s changed for coaches, too. And we’ve had to make adjustments, because there are so many mistakes made. 

“I guess the thing with the young athletes is sometimes you have to wait your turn, right, as far as gaining respect and not wanting everything right now and not expecting everything right now — as far as ice time, as far as your contract, whatever it may be. Sometimes it’s good just to wait your turn and earn it. 

“I think that’s where the athletes have changed. They have entourages around them that I think direct them the wrong way. And the hierarchy of a room, the hierarchy of what it is to be a pro, the process you have to go through as a pro, I think, is lost a little bit with the athlete now. And it’s something I miss terribly in being in the league for so long, seeing where it’s gone to now.

“Great athletes. Great skill. Great speed. But the mental and the understanding what it is to be a pro and respecting the National Hockey League, that’s where I have some struggles.”