Sean Couturier is a healthy scratch for Tuesday night’s game against the Maple Leafs, and he’s not happy about it:

Coots was named captain last month and has struggled ever since. He’s scored one goal and bagged three assists over his past 14 games and only got 11 minutes of ice time as the Flyers lost in Boston over the weekend.

The team posted the pregame media availability on YouTube, in which Coots started by saying “I control what I can control. It is what it is, and I move on.”

When asked if he’s spoken to John Tortorella:

“Somewhat. Doesn’t matter honestly what I think. Gotta leave my ego aside I guess and hopefully the team finds a way to get a win here tonight and I can get back into it soon.” 

Couturier said he hasn’t received much from Torts in terms of what he needs to improve on:

“Just need to see more, still looking to find out what that is. I’m trying every game, it’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing.”

Tortorella did not speak at pregame media availability, which was handled by assistant coach Rocky Thompson, who unsurprisingly deferred on the Coots question and said a bunch of nothing. Unless Torts had some sort of emergency, like a sudden bout of Sixers-esque gastroenteritis, or he was playing PA online casino, then he should have gotten up there and spoken to the media. That’s sometimes corny, when stuffy people demand the coach talks to reporters, but when you bench your captain in the middle of a playoff race, and you’ve done pregame media all year long, then yeah, from an optics standpoint it looks ridiculous.

The thing about this one that’s particularly notable is the captaincy angle, of course. Torts has benched underperforming veterans before, like Kevin Hayes, but you put the C on the guy’s sweater and the reaction is elevated. Remember, last year, Torts didn’t want to name a captain, and there was no reason to think that the sentiment changed midway through this year. That’s really the lens in which this story should be analyzed. Did Torts bench “his” captain or “the” captain?