VOORHEES, N.J. – As of early Friday afternoon, no one knew for sure if Travis Konecny was injured after taking a shot on the foot courtesy of teammate Ivan Provorov in practice.
But this much was known: The Flyers really can’t afford to lose another forward.
They’re already without James van Riemsdyk (lower-body injury) and Nolan Patrick (blow to the head suffered in Wednesday night’s game at Ottawa).
In a hasty press briefing, general manager Ron Hextall said he had no information on Konecny’s status and wasn’t sure if one would be forthcoming later in the day.
“I haven’t heard a word yet,’’ Hextall said. “I don’t have anything for you.’’
In Friday’s practice at the Skate Zone, Jorden Weal was moved into Patrick’s second-line center spot.
If Konecny can’t play in Saturday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights, look for Dale Weise in the lineup and a possible call-up from the Phantoms.
Hextall said he has no plans to call someone up from the Phantoms just yet.
“We have 12 forwards now and that’s what we’re going with,’’ Hextall said. “These guys (Weal, Weise) are here for a reason. Sometimes the fit isn’t right, which is why you do call someone up.
“But right now the fit is right, so we’re going with the 12 that we have.’’
If the Flyers do call someone up, it would probably be Taylor Leier.
Corban Knight, who was injured in preseason and probably would have gone back to the Phantoms upon his return, might just stick around for a while when he’s healthy, according to Hextall.
“He’s getting close,’’ Hextall said. “He needs a little more practice time, a little more contact.
“Right now I’ll say he will probably stay.’’
In other injury news, backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth (groin injury) continues to practice and says he’s close to a return.
He’s scheduled to see a doctor on Saturday and if he gets medical clearance, it’s just a matter of holding up to game conditions.
“He’s certainly getting there,’’ Hextall said. “Now, it’s about building up his tolerance to be able to stand up to a game.’’
Newly acquired Cal Pickard (claimed off waivers from Toronto last week) won his first start in a Flyers’ uniform (a 7-4 win at Ottawa).
Would the Flyers consider keeping three goalies around when Neuvirth returns?
“We’ll have to deal with that at the time,’’ Hextall said. “It’s not an ideal situation. But if that’s what is right for our hockey club, that’s what we will do.
“We have all these injuries, we have a roster issue, a cap issue. We’ll see what information comes to us between now and then and come to a decision.’’
The Flyers could put Pickard back on waivers within a 10-game/30-day period but a team like Toronto could reclaim him and send him back to their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies without the risk of losing him on waivers.
To summarize, it looks like the Flyers will keep Pickard here, especially because Neuvirth is an injury waiting to happen.
Penalty kill issues
The Flyers finished a woeful 29th on the penalty kill last year and there have been some issues again in the four games this season.
“I think there’s been some good and some not so good,’’ Hextall said. “But I think you can’t look at four games and go, ‘OK, this is our penalty kill.’
“I think our off-ice pressure has been better. And that’s a big part. You get up-ice pressure and kill 20, 30 seconds of a PK, that’s huge. I think we’ve done a good job there.’’