Boyd Gordon

Injury forces challenge for Travis Konecny, Flyers

Injury forces challenge for Travis Konecny, Flyers

Travis Konecny’s left ankle and knee injury could not have occurred at a worst time.

Not just for the Flyers, but for himself.

The announcement Tuesday that he will miss four to six weeks is devastating news for the 19-year-old to swallow (see story), given he had just come off a two-game benching and his confidence was already rattled.

Now he’ll fall far behind teammates in terms of conditioning and on-the-job learning as a rookie, which places even greater pressure on him when he returns sometime in March to get his game ironed out.

In 51 games this season, Konecny has seven goals, 22 points and a minus-4 rating.

The price the Flyers pay is the loss of young blood in a lineup already lacking speed and creativity, not to mention the enthusiasm that rookies bring to the dressing room.

The Flyers have been shut out in succession at home — something that last happened in October 1999, when Konecny wasn’t even 2 years old — and are in the midst of a crucial five-game homestand, during a time in which their hold on the second wild card is a very tenuous single point over the Bruins, who fired coach Claude Julien this morning.

Obviously, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol has no choice but to reinsert Matt Read, who was benched for the 2-0 Blues loss (see game story). Read lacks the dynamics that Konecny brings.

General manager Ron Hextall did not announce any immediate roster move but an ideal call-up from the Phantoms would be Jordan Weal, who is very similar in both size and attributes to Konecny.

Weal didn’t make the final roster cut this season based on numbers. If ever were a time for him to shine, this is it. He leads the Phantoms by a large margin in points — 45 — even though Greg Carey has more goals (22 vs. 15).

Carey is a left wing, whereas Weal is a center. Konecny was a natural center playing the wing.

If Weal doesn’t get the call-up and someone else does, then it says quite a bit about just how the organization feels about him.

If you recall, Weal was acquired from Los Angeles in January of 2016 as part of the deal that sent Luke Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier to the Kings.

Weal spent 13 games as a healthy scratch, then injured his shoulder during a morning skate in mid-February at New Jersey. He missed 26 games, re-entering the lineup on the final day of the regular season (April 10), even though he was actually fully recovered nearly a month earlier.

All that said, given the defensive posture the Flyers have taken recently, Boyd Gordon could be the call-up or even two-way forward Taylor Leier, although he's currently recovering from an injury.

The Flyers return to practice Wednesday at Skate Zone. At the moment, they don’t have any extra forwards on the roster.

On Thursday, the Islanders visit town. By then we’ll know whether they’re going to recall a forward.

This much is certain. They will need one more body here before they travel to Western Canada next week to take on Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Flyers activate Mark Streit, waive Boyd Gordon

Flyers activate Mark Streit, waive Boyd Gordon

VOORHEES, N.J. – Defenseman Mark Streit has been reactivated off long-term injury and will play Saturday afternoon for the Flyers in Boston.

He has missed 13 games rehabbing a sprained left shoulder. In order to accommodate the move under the salary cap, the club waived forward Boyd Gordon ($950,000).

“It’s not a move we necessarily wanted to make but we needed to make a move and felt this was the best option,” general manager Ron Hextall said. “I like what Boyd’s done, he’s a good person and works his butt off but it’s the best move for the hockey club right now.”

Hextall said he could have sent Roman Lyubimov to the Phantoms but likes what he brings to the club.

Gordon, who was signed in the offseason to help cut down Claude Giroux’s ice time by subbing for him on the penalty kill and select defensive draws, spent most of this season out of the lineup.

Gordon missed 18 games with back issues and even when activated couldn’t crack the lineup, missing 10 of the last 14 games as a healthy scratch. He played 13 games and scored the club’s first goal this season. It was his only goal, too.

“He’s been boxed out,” Hextall said of Gordon. “When you look at Belly [Pierre-Edouard Bellemare], he played a little higher in the lineup. If you have Belly in the middle and Gordon on the checking line, it’s different but when Belly is back down with Vandy [Chris VandeVelde] taking a lot of the PK minutes, it just hasn’t work out in Gordo’s favor.”

Streit was injured on Dec. 11 in the third period at Detroit. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said he will monitor his minutes against the Bruins.

“When a player comes back in, No. 1 you just have to look for strong, basic play and that’s where we start and then read the game from there,” he said. “Mark is a great veteran. We’ll gauge it and go from there.”

The goal is at least 16 minutes of ice time from him. Streit was paired with Radko Gudas at Friday’s practice.

“I felt pretty good out there,” Streit said. “It’s a team sport. I don’t think one guy can make a difference. It’s the whole team. Everybody needs to be on the same page. I’m happy to be back. I missed close to a month. I just want to keep it simple out there.”

Hextall said earlier that the club has missed Streit’s veteran presence.

“I’m one of the older guys,” Streit said. “I have a lot of experience and try to bring leadership in the room and on the ice. When you missed quite some time, you can’t play where you left off but you want to be out there and play within the system.”

Loose pucks
Michal Neuvirth appears to be the starting goalie and said he could play both games. He was off the ice first. … Hakstol said he would not rule out one goalie playing both games and again reiterated how impressed he was with Neuvirth coming in cold to slam the door on Vancouver in the Flyers' shootout win on Thursday. … Matt Read did not practice because of a minor skate cut but is expected to play Saturday at Boston.

Flyers activate Michael Del Zotto, transfer Boyd Gordon to LTIR

Flyers activate Michael Del Zotto, transfer Boyd Gordon to LTIR

The Flyers on Saturday activated defenseman Michael Del Zotto from long term injured reserve and transferred center Boyd Gordon from injured reserve to LTIR. Del Zotto will be paired with Shayne Gostisbehere against the Canadiens in Montreal on Saturday night.

Del Zotto suffered a lower-body injury, which sources told CSN's Tim Panaccio was a left knee injury, during the preseason and missed the first three weeks of the season.

At the time of the injury, the Flyers said Del Zotto would miss four-to-five weeks. The 26-year-old has been skating for the past couple of weeks and was eligible to come off LTIR on Saturday. Nick Schultz is expected to be a healthy scratch against Montreal.

“He’s a veteran guy,” Hextall said of Del Zotto on Thursday (see story). “Obviously we’ve got two young guys playing back there, inexperienced guys. So he’s a veteran guy that skates well and moves the puck well. He’ll be a nice addition, for sure.”

“Everything is dictated on how you do. Michael comes back and plays well, he’s going to get more minutes. I would assume he’s going to play pretty big minutes, but he’s got to play well to dictate that.”

In 52 games last season, Del Zotto, who is on the final year of his contract, scored four goals and 13 points. 

Gordon, 33, is dealing with an upper-body injury and was placed on IR on Thursday. Transferring him to LTIR helps with the Flyers' cap situation, but could also be a sign that Gordon's injury could be more severe than originally thought.