VOORHEES – Coming off the best season of his career, Travis Konecny was about as excited as anyone to have the Stanley Cup playoffs salvaged from the pandemic threat.
Now, with Flyers’ training camp into its second week, the anticipation continues to grow.
Konecny says he made it through the four-month pause in good shape.
“Right now, I feel good,’’ Konecny said last week at the Skate Zone (the Flyers had off on Monday). “Health-wise, I am good. I was fortunate that I was in a good spot and I was healthy for the whole process. That’s kind of where I’m at. It’s good to be back.’’
While this training camp does last two weeks, there is a sense of urgency to get everybody on the same page in a hurry. Things ended rather abruptly in mid-March. This camp will not be like a regular one, with multiple preseason games, etc.
“They (the players) know how fast we need to get back into things,’’ Konecny said. “We know there’s not that big time period where you know you have that time to get where you need to go.
“You need to be sharp right away. When it comes down to numbers and what they need to do for us on the stat side of it, they (the coaches) know what they’re doing.’’
Konecny was a surprise leading scorer for the Flyers this past season. His 24 goals topped the list and his 37 assists tied with Sean Couturier for second behind Jake Voracek’s 44. Konecny’s 61 points edged out Couturier (59) for the team overall title.
The 23-year-old London, Ontario native knows there are going to be as many challenges off the ice as on it once the Flyers hit Toronto for the playoffs. Safety comes first.
“I’m sure we have a great group putting in a lot of work to make sure we are going to be as safe as possible,’’ he said. “We’re not even to Toronto yet, to the actual bubble. I know that here, it’s definitely very safe and the precautionary things we have to do and testing wise. You feel like you’re in a good environment. I haven’t looked much into what’s going to go on once we’re there, but they’ve kind of told us a little bit.’’
The NHL Players’ Association signed off on all the safety protocols so everyone appears to understand the risk involved.
“I think for the most part, being here I’ve kind of accepted that it (risk of COVID-19 infection) is a possibility,’’ Konecny said. “There is a chance that you could definitely get it. There’s no more possibility than being anywhere else. You are almost safer here because you are testing so often. There are definitely those false positives. I kind of expect those to pop up as well. We just do our best to stay safe and try to avoid that stuff as much as possible.’’
>Myers top four fixture
After an outstanding second half to his season, defenseman Phil Myers established himself as a steady partner on the Flyers’ second defense pairing with Travis Sanheim.
That defense-leading plus-17 certainly didn’t hurt Myers’ standing either.
Now he’s looking forward to the postseason with the Flyers after getting into 50 games with them during the regular campaign.
The chemistry with Sanheim has played into Myers’ steady improvement.
“I’m very familiar with him (Sanheim),’’ Myers said. “I’ve played with him before in the American League (Phantoms) and all of this year. We’ve been around many development camps over the years. He’s a great guy. I think we complement each other well on the ice. He’s fun to play with and make some plays. He’s big. He can skate. I have full confidence when I’m out there with him. He’s a great guy and he’s fun to play with.’’
Assistant coach Mike Yeo pointed out head coach Alain Vigneault doesn’t mind putting the Myers-Sanheim combination out against some of the top lines in the league.
“It gives you confidence when the coaches have confidence in you,’’ Myers said. “It’s a challenge I’m embracing with open arms. I love playing against the best players. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m just going to work as hard as I can and do the best that I can out there to make a difference and help our team win.’’
This will be Myers’ first Stanley Cup playoffs. He knows the intensity will be higher than regular-season play.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time,’’ he said. “I’m happy that I’m going to have the opportunity to play in the playoffs. To answer, I think the intensity is going to be as high as it’s ever been for me during a hockey game. I’ll be ready.’’