PHILADELPHIA – As returns to action go, this was about as timely as it gets.
With the Flyers coming off a disastrous three-game road trip and losing players in droves, getting leading scorer Travis Konecny back in the lineup might provide some needed relief.
At Tuesday morning’s pre-game skate, Konecny practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion on a hit from Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki back on Dec. 14.
After the workout at the Wells Fargo Center, Konecny proclaimed himself ready to go.
Considering the Flyers have lost Oskar Lindblom (Ewing’s sarcoma), Scott Laughton (groin) and Tyler Pitlick (possible concussion), having Konecny back might improve the Flyers’ hopes against the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
“I feel if I come back and play the way I played, hopefully I can help with the team a little bit,’’ Konecny said after the skate at the Wells Fargo Center. “It’s not a matter of guys being out of the lineup, we just have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing.’’
Borowiecki did not receive any discipline from the NHL for the hit on Konecny but the Flyers right wing said he didn’t think any type of suspension would have been justified.
“I felt like I had the puck on my stick,’’ he said. “And he hit me. I wasn’t watching. I should know who’s on the ice. He’s going to take advantage of guys who aren’t looking.
“It’s my fault. I didn’t have my head up.’’
In a way, Konecny feels fortunate he was only out of action for the three games in Colorado, Minnesota and Winnipeg.
“It’s not something where (you say) ‘I’ll just get over it within a day or two.’ You’re obviously concerned. You just don’t know. I wasn’t thinking about getting back as soon as possible, I was worried about getting cleared and ready to play.’’
General manager Chuck Fletcher believes getting Konecny back can instill some energy into his team. They play three of the next four games at home before the Christmas break.
“From a team perspective, it (the road trip) didn’t go the way we wanted,’’ Fletcher said. “The Oskar situation is pretty scary and sobering.
“I think the guys are excited about righting the ship here. TK is excited to go. He’s felt better for several days, been skating hard. He’ll be a tremendous addition to our roster skill. Energy, speed.’’
Coach Alain Vigneault also sounded pleased to have Konecny back, especially on the struggling power play.
“It’s about finding ways to compete, finding ways to win,’’ Vigneault said. “There’s no doubt he’s been a real important player for us. He finds a way to contribute, not just on the score sheet but the way he plays, he plays hard, he goes to the tough areas.’’
Added captain Claude Giroux: “He’s a big piece of our team. Brings energy, skills. He’s one of our top players. Anytime you’ve got a guy like that back, it’s going to be a boost for us.’’
>Reaction to Farabee suspension
Joel Farabee received a three-game suspension for his hit on Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault in Sunday’s 7-3 road loss.
Both Fletcher and coach Alain Vigneault know Farabee’s absence will be felt.
“I don’t have an opinion (on the hit),’’ Fletcher said. “Obviously it’s a blow for us. If anything, this road trip showed how competitive he is. Certainly might be as competitive a player as we have.
“What he did in Minnesota (on Saturday), how hard he competed the next night was impressive to see. He certainly earned the respect everyone in that room and from us. That’s a blow for us, but it’s hockey and we’ll move on.’’
Vigneault wasn’t quite so understanding.
He pointed out that Farabee got three games for his hit but Mark Borowiecki of the Ottawa Senators did not receive any discipline for his concussion-causing hit on Travis Konecny the week before.
“The time between the puck being past (Perreault) and the hit I think is 1.34 seconds,’’ Vigneault said. “Which is late. But TK’s one a few days before was 1.04. That’s .3 seconds. One is nothing, one is a three-game suspension to a young man who has no history.
“Sometimes things are hard to figure out. But you just have to roll with it.’’
>Andreoff recalled; Twarynski goes to Phantoms
Andy Andreoff was called up from the Phantoms on Tuesday and Carsen Twarynski was sent back.
It’s Andreoff’s second tour with the Flyers this season.
“You know Andy was coming off a high ankle sprain,’’ Fletcher said. “So the reason we didn’t bring him up earlier was probably me, just making sure he was healthy. He played three games in three days with the Phantoms so this (Tuesday game vs. Anaheim) will be his fourth game in five nights. But he’s a competitor, he’ll have no issues with that.’’
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