PHILADELPHIA – Great offense doesn’t make up for questionable defense, at least not according to Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.
He reminded his team of that Thursday night by all but benching forward Travis Konecny for the third period, even though the second-year player already had two goals in his pocket.
Hakstol limited Konecny’s ice time to just 2:28 in the third period of a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers, replacing him with fourth-liner Matt Read, who played a whopping 5:35.
It’s at least the second time this month the coach has been upset with Konecny’s play on the defensive side of the puck.
Previously, Hakstol got into the post-game locker room late after the media had entered and proceeded to give Konecny a verbal tutorial in front of reporters.
“He wasn’t taking care of the puck very well,’’ Hakstol said. “Defensively. . .some of the things in the ‘D’ zone.
“Individuals have to be better at this time of year and how we manage the puck, how we take care of it.’’
Hakstol likes Konecny’s energy and doesn’t want to curb that enthusiasm.
“There’s never a lack of that,’’ Hakstol said. “I love that about TK. Most nights, he’s working hard to do the right things on both sides of the puck. There have been very few nights where he hasn’t given us that injection of energy, that punch offensively.
“He’s been a real consistent player on that side of things. A night like tonight, with the puck, depending on the situation and the time of the game, he needed to do a better job. He knows that. That’s part of the growing process here.’’
Konecny seems to be taking the whole learning deal in stride.
“We’re going to make sure defensively, we’re going to take care of pucks, little things like that,’’ said Konecny, who now has 22 goals, double last year’s total. “It’s just doing things for the team. I have no problem with it. It’s a matter of getting the two points.
“If that’s the way we have to win, we have to do it every time.’’