Flyers

Chuck Fletcher, Alain Vigneault don't mince words over Travis Konecny's absence from Flyers training camp

Chuck Fletcher, Alain Vigneault don't mince words over Travis Konecny's absence from Flyers training camp

Updated: 5:30 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — Travis Konecny was nowhere to be seen Friday at Flyers Skate Zone as 2019 training camp got underway.

And the vibes from his general manager and head coach regarding his absence weren't exactly rosy.

"I'm very disappointed that T.K. is not here," Alain Vigneault said after his first practice leading the Flyers. "It's the start of a new era, a new group, I felt that it was very important for everybody to be here. 

"With my time in the NHL, my experience, anybody that falls behind — whether it's injury or in T.K.'s situation not coming to camp — usually it takes them a little bit of time to get back at it, especially at this time with a new coaching staff and new way of doing things. 

"It's unfortunate, but I'm going to work with the players that are here and going to work extremely hard with those players."

The entire offseason has passed and Konecny, an important forward to the Flyers' 2019-20 season, remains a restricted free agent. While it's unclear when he'll be in camp, the intricacies to why the Flyers and his representation can't agree to terms on a new contract became a bit clearer Friday.

GM Chuck Fletcher said the Flyers are willing to be flexible but Konecny's camp would "prefer a longer-term deal right now." A longer-term deal might make sense for the Flyers because Konecny is only 22 years old and hasn't fully blossomed yet. Locking up Konecny for more years before he potentially hits a different tier could attract the Flyers.

While a bridge deal may be a good bet for Konecny, long-term security isn't bad, either. There are risks and rewards to both avenues, for both sides. It'll be about compromising.

"I honestly don't know what to say," Fletcher said. "I've been doing this 25 years, I think we go about it the right way, but we just can't seem to get to the same language on this one.

"Still have a ways to go. I don't really know how to characterize it, both sides are trying. It's been a little quiet recently, so we'll look to find a solution that will break the impasse."

Are the sides differing on years or money?

"Both," Fletcher said. "They have some specific demands with respect to term. We're trying to work with them in that regard. We're a little more flexible, I think we would look at a two- or three-year deal or a longer-term deal, and they prefer a longer-term deal right now, so certainly that makes it a little bit more difficult when you narrow the scope of length of term you're negotiating on. We'll continue to work at it."

For now, the Flyers have to practice, prepare and move forward without Konecny. Negotiations can change quickly, but nothing sounds promising at the moment and the Flyers have a preseason game on Monday. There's a new head coach and two new assistant coaches. There's no doubt time is precious in camp.

"It certainly doesn't help him," Fletcher said. "For us, he's a good player and can help our team. For now, you guys hear these clichés all the time, but it's no different than when you get an injury during the season, you don't have a player. We believe we have good depth, we like our depth, there's opportunity now for other players to step up and show what they can do. We'd rather Travis was here, but he's not, so we just have to move on without him and hopefully at some point he gets in."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers vs. Senators: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Senators: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

For just the fifth time in the last 23 games, the Flyers failed to pick up at least a point when they lost to the Coyotes, 3-1, Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Before a three-game road trip, the Flyers (16-8-5) will look to get back into the points business Saturday as they host the Senators (12-16-1).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 1 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• For the most part, the Flyers were pleased with their game Thursday despite leaving the night empty-handed. Their points were valid, though.

The Flyers held the Coyotes to only 18 shots while putting up 29 themselves. On the season, the Flyers have recorded the NHL's 10th-most shots per game (32.8) and have allowed the fourth fewest (28.9). They own 10 wins when outshooting their opponent, tied for second most in the league.

What's most important is they're playing head coach Alain Vigneault's preferred style, which, more often than not, will result in points. It's a big reason why they're 14-5-4 since Oct. 21.

When you look at all the numbers after tonight, we’ll be double in possession, double in shots, double in everything. But we couldn't find a way to beat their goaltender. I like the way we worked, but execution-wise with the puck, we were a little off. A lot of people say they defended well, we had the puck all night. So that's what happened.

- Vigneault after loss to Coyotes

• Carter Hart is 7-2-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in his last 11 starts. The 21-year-old has allowed more than two goals in only two of those 11 outings.

• The Flyers have only two regulation losses at home (9-2-4) and haven't gone back-to-back games without a point since Oct. 27-29.

• The Senators are 1-5-0 in their last six games, a stretch in which they've scored 1.83 goals per game.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Mikhail Vorobyev-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Philippe Myers-Shayne Gostisbehere

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

BOX SCORE

Despite putting up 21 goals over their five-game winning streak, the Flyers had a propensity to score them in bunches when an opponent started derailing.

On Thursday night, the Flyers never got going and were pulled back to earth in a 3-1 loss to the Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center.

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper was the biggest difference. The 6-foot-5 netminder who brought an NHL-best 1.97 goals-against average and .936 save percentage to Philly stopped 28 shots.

With 4:43 left, Matt Niskanen scored the Flyers' lone goal and it ricocheted off a Coyote. Arizona iced the game with an empty-netter (see highlights).

The Flyers (16-8-5) suffered just their second regulation loss at home (9-2-4). The last time they failed to pick up a point at home was Oct. 19 when they lost to the Stars, 4-1.

Thursday night's defeat halted the Flyers' winning streak at five games and their point streak at seven. The Flyers had earned at least a point in 18 of their previous 22 games.

The Coyotes (17-9-4), who were allowing the NHL's second-fewest goals per game at 2.31, improved to 10-3-3 on the road.

• The Flyers went on two power plays in the final six minutes of the second period but could not solve Kuemper.

During those two man advantage opportunities, the Flyers put five shots on Kuemper and also misfired three times.

James van Riemsdyk found Morgan Frost with a slick backhanded pass from behind the net but the 20-year-old missed wide.

• Speaking of Frost, he had a tough game. The rookie had a turnover and some difficulty making plays.

He has gone scoreless over his last seven games following his loud start in which he scored three points in his first two games.

Maybe head coach Alain Vigneault takes him off the first line to relieve some pressure.

"Young player, in my estimation, has got a lot of confidence in himself, which is real good," Vigneault said postgame. "Tonight, there were a couple of plays with the puck, like some of our other guys, that the execution might have been a little bit off. But I think overall, the young man is working hard and trying to get better."

Will he stay on the top line?

"I'm going to watch the game and make [changes], if I have some changes to make, [Friday]," Vigneault said. "I like what the young man can bring to the game."

• Vigneault opted to play seven defensemen instead of slotting call-up Mikhail Vorobyev in at fourth-line center.

It's not a bad approach when you have seven healthy blueliners playing well. It also could mean the Flyers aren't ready to trust Vorobyev on the fourth line again.

The Senators game on Saturday looks like a better matchup for Vorobyev, who is in his fifth stint with the club since the start of last season.

• Brian Elliott hadn't lost in regulation since Oct. 29. The Flyers' backup goalie finished with 15 saves.

He allowed a first-period power play goal to Phil Kessel after Claude Giroux was whistled for a ticky-tacky slashing penalty. He then yielded a backbreaking third-period goal to Conor Garland with 7:03 left in the game.

The goalie was not the problem, though.

Sean Couturier was not a problem, either.

• The Flyers wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday when they welcome the Senators (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Next week, the team opens a three-game road trip, which features matchups with the Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers