The first time Travis Konecny went to the NHL All-Star Game he might have been a bit too young to appreciate what it meant.
That was back in 2020 when he was still just 22 years old.
This year promises to be different. The Flyers right wing, now a wise old veteran at age 26, should be able to understand what it means to be one of hockey’s best as he heads north to take part in all the festivities in Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on Friday and Saturday.
Although he was in a bit of a scoring slump (one goal in his last 11 games) prior to the schedule break, Konecny is still enjoying an outstanding season, leading the Flyers in goals (22) and points (42).
“I’m really looking forward to the All-Star Game,” Konecny said in a recent locker room interview. “The last time I was younger, I was nervous going into the game. I definitely will soak it in a little bit more this time.”
For the past year or so, Konecny has become more of a complete player. Coach John Tortorella showed faith in him last season by putting him on the penalty kill and that’s worked out just fine. The Flyers have been hovering around first or second in the NHL in the penalty kill department for the past month or so.
“Yeah, I’m trying to complete my game,” he said. “The more I go through these seasons, the more I try to become more of an overall player that can be out in every situation.”
Konecny can also be a pain in the butt to play against, too. Like pests such as Boston’s Brad Marachand and others of that ilk, he likes to chirp a lot, particularly after whistles, and he doesn’t mind some pushing and shoving.
He’s fourth on the team in penalty minutes and trails only physical tough guys Nick Deslauriers, Garnet Hathaway and Nick Seeler.
“I’m still learning a lot from guys I’m playing with,” said Konecny, who has been holding down a spot on Sean Couturier’s line for quite some time. “Every game ‘Coots’ is still giving me pointers on things to do and how to handle certain stuff. The guys I play with (such as Joel Farabee and Owen Tippett) make it easy, too.”
Konecny deserves quite a bit of credit for the Flyers’ third-place standing in the Metropolitan Division. He’s tied for the NHL lead in shorthanded goals with five and he’s averaging just a shade under 20 minutes per game, which is just a tick behind team leader Couturier. He’s one of seven Flyers to play in all 50 games.
Despite missing the playoffs three straight seasons seasons, the Flyers’ bounce-back campaign hasn’t surprised Konecny.
“I mean we all believed it,” he said. “It’s just a matter of putting it all together. I think that guys have done a good job learning some of the ups and downs in a season. We haven’t gotten to the point where we let ourselves get too low.
“The young guys have done a great job of getting back (on the backcheck) and picking guys up. It’s just been an awesome experience. Everyone’s kind of filling in, stepping up when they need to and it’s really fun to watch to be honest.”