PHILADELPHIA – How many times have you heard the expression “chip off the old block’’?
As cliché as it might sound, there’s really no other way to describe the way Travis Konecny plays the game of hockey.
The Flyers’ first-line right wing goes all of 5-foot-10, 175 pounds yet plays the game like he’s 6-foot-3, 200.
That is, he’s not afraid to go into high-danger areas or mix it up with much bigger players during a post-whistle shoving match.
Some say he takes after his father, Rob, who’s a firefighter back in Canada.
It’s timely to bring up the relationship between the Konecnys because of the wildfires wreaking destruction throughout California.
Hundreds of thousands of acres have been burned, towns destroyed and more than 40 people killed by the rampaging blazes.
Any firefighter around the world has to be watching some of this drama unfold on television. It’s a battle against nature where there really are no winners.
And in no way are we trying to compare the bravery of a hockey player to that of a firefighter, but no doubt there is a little bit of Rob in Travis.
The fearlessness of the younger Konecny is there for all to see on a nightly basis.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol is one of TK’s admirers.
“That (willingness to go into dirty areas) is a big part of TK’s game,’’ Hakstol said after Tuesday morning’s pre-game skate at the Wells Fargo Center. “He doesn’t play a small man’s game.
“TK is a pretty explosive player. He’s a tenacious player who thrives on some of those high-intensity battle areas. The part I like best about his game is his play in some of those areas.
“It’s his play on the wall, his willingness to take the puck to some of those hard areas. When you do that, you put yourself at risk. But that’s part of what makes him an effective player.’’
Konecny acknowledges that he does, in some ways, take after his dad.
He grew up in an environment where taking risk was a normal thing to do. So why wouldn’t he play the game this way, regardless of his size?
“It’s the only way you can keep pushing forward,’’ Konecny commented in talking about his style of play. “If you get comfortable in where you’re at, and settled with what you’ve got, that’s when it ends, I think.’’
All the Konecnys have empathy for what California is going through right now.
“He (Rob) can definitely relate to some of the stuff,’’ Travis said. “I have a buddy (in Canada) who fights forest fires in the summer time. I know some people who have experience with that and it’s tough to watch.’’
Former Flyer defenseman Brandon Manning’s dad is also a firefighter and when Brandon was here, the two went out into the community to help out with things related to fire safety, like handing out smoke detectors to families in Philadelphia.
That was a way of helping to prevent dangerous situations in a real-life setting.
“Yeah, especially when you know firefighters are putting their lives on the line,’’ Travis said. “They’re trying to save everybody’s neighborhoods, lives.
“They’re definitely heroes but it’s scary sometimes. I hear the stories, they are scary, but it’s cool what he does.
“I definitely try to take after my dad in some ways. I certainly look up to him.’’
It seems like Claude Giroux is passing another career milestone almost every night.
With 699 points heading into Tuesday night’s game against Florida, he was closing in on 700.
Giroux has played with standouts like retirees Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell. He just passed Briere (696) the other night and now should be soon going by Hartnell, who has 707 on his resume.
The Flyers captain was asked about the significance of passing Hartnell, his former linemate, and if he would drop him a wise-crack text when the day comes.
“You’re saying Scott Hartnell has more points than me?’’ a smiling Giroux joked. “I’m not sure about that. I probably passed him already. I’m definitely going to let him know.’’
James van Riemsdyk (foot injury) took part in the morning skate but said he’s not quite ready to return. However, Thursday against the New Jersey Devils seems like a good possibility. . .Ivan Provorov’s 25:06 average ice time ranks 12th in the NHL. . .Shayne Gostisbehere’s OT winner vs. Arizona the other night was the sixth of his career and tied for the most by any NHL defenseman since the start of his career (2015-16).