Re-energized Konecny efforts key to Flyers’ fast start

Travis Konecny

PHILADELPHIA – Coach John Tortorella compares Travis Konency to his former go-to guy in Columbus and current star in Philadelphia, namely Cam Atkinson.

Kevin Hayes calls Konecny perhaps the best player on the Flyers.

And the way Konecny has played in the first two games of this season, none of those evaluations smack of hyperbole.

After scoring a pair of goals in the season-opening 5-2 win over New Jersey on Thursday, Konecny came back with the winning goal plus an assist on a tying goal by Scott Laughton in the Flyers’ 3-2 victory over Vancouver on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Although Konecny led the Flyers in scoring last season, there were times when he just didn’t seem as energized as he had in the past.

But this year he looks like a rejuvenated player. Maybe it’s all that skating Tortorella put him through in training camp. Anyway, Konecny formerly put together three straight seasons of 24 goals and now he looks ready to set a new career high.

“TK is an unbelievable player, he’s an all-star player in this league,’’ Hayes offered. “He’s probably the best player on the team. I don’t think he’s done anything too drastic to change (this year). When he scores goals and he’s being himself, it just adds his fuel and just makes him look that much better.’’

Konecny’s best play of the night probably came on the Laughton goal. With the Flyers down a man, Konecny sent a perfect bounce pass off the boards, with Laughton catching it in full stride. That completely changed the momentum of the game.

Konecny seems to have found his groove early and again it goes back to team attitude going through training camp.

“I think everyone’s buying in,’’ Konecny explained. “You try to latch onto guys when they’re playing, jump over the boards and build off each other.”

Tortorella has so much faith in Konecny he’s even using him on the penalty kill, a rare honor for someone perceived as strictly an offensive weapon. And on this particular night, the plan worked, as the Laughton goal will attest.

“I feel like I’m in the game a lot,’’ Konecny said of the new duty. “It keeps my legs going. However I can help.’’

Having his coach compare him to a proven star such as Atkinson is a pretty nice honor.

“I think sometimes when players have success, they just stay there,’’ Tortorella said of Konecny. “There’s more there. It’s a great start but he’s going to have to play better as we go through this year.’’

Atkinson is known for his all-around play and that’s what Konecny can aspire to.

“Very similar,’’ Tortorella said. “Cam’s more a darter but Travis has that, too. Same stature and all that, as far as height. Cam was a guy I leaned on for six years in all situations. Very similar players.’’



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About Wayne Fish 2437 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.