Flyers

Flyers' Travis Konecny named an NHL All-Star

Flyers' Travis Konecny named an NHL All-Star

Back in mid-September, a mini drama brewed as Travis Konecny missed the Flyers’ first three days of training camp. The 22-year-old forward and the team couldn’t come to terms on a new contract for the restricted free agent.

Three and a half months later, Konecny is an NHL All-Star and will represent the Flyers in St. Louis for the Jan. 24-25 festivities.

After signing a six-year, $33 million contract, Konecny has delivered, becoming an integral piece to the Flyers’ turnaround in 2019-20. He leads the team with 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) over 36 games in his fourth NHL season as the Flyers have gone 22-12-5 through 39 games thus far.

As Konecny had to wait out the entire offseason for his next deal, he thought a lot about himself as a player.

He was not only ready to come into 2019-20 with a new contract, but also a new mindset.

“I really wanted to do what was best for the team and every single night focus on two points,” he said in November. “Individual stats kind of come with that, when you’re playing an all-around game for the team. I’m not saying I play an all-around game every single night. I try to do my best to help the team. Some nights are better than the others, but I think that’s been my main focus — really trying to give my best effort every night and be able to go home saying that I tried to do my part.”

Now, the 2015 first-round pick is projected to finish with 75 points, a true breakout season after scoring 49 points in 2018-19. The Flyers are 18-5-1 in games that Konecny has recorded a point and 4-4-4 when he has gone scoreless. He has three three-point performances this season after recording two such games over his first three NHL seasons.

"What I see is a young man that has got a lot of energy, wants to learn how to play the right way,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said in September. “It's not just about offense, he wants to defend and he wants to defend well."

Konecny quickly gained trust and responsibility from Vigneault. He has already recorded a career high with 12 power play points and he's three assists away from breaking his personel best of 25 set last season. After back-to-back 24-goal seasons, there's a good chance Konecny tops that mark, as well.

And good thing he picked up his phone on the team's off day Monday. Konecny found out about his first NHL All-Star selection from general manager Chuck Fletcher.

I was laying in bed actually and Chuck called me," Konecny said Monday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "I was going through my mind, like, the options why he could be calling me on the day off, I wasn’t too sure. It was almost one of those ones you were going to let the phone call slide and just kind of see if he texts you so you can get the answer, but I ended up picking up and that’s how I found out.

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With newcomers, Flyers keep on humming in NHL playoff race, have Penguins in their sights

With newcomers, Flyers keep on humming in NHL playoff race, have Penguins in their sights

BOX SCORE

A day after the NHL trade deadline, the Flyers showed off their new look and didn't miss a beat.

With reinforcements Derek Grant and Nate Thompson, the Flyers defeated the Sharks, 4-2, Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers (36-20-7) have won four straight games, their longest win streak since Dec. 17-23, when they also won four in a row.

Not many in the league have been better than the Flyers over their last 20 games. The Flyers are 14-5-1 with an NHL-high 72 goals since Jan. 8. Over that stretch, only one club has more points than the Flyers' 29 — the Lightning with 31.

The Sharks (26-33-4), who have a number of injuries and traded away Barclay Goodrow and Patrick Marleau before Monday's deadline, have lost five straight.

• Good work by the Flyers handling a lesser opponent.

Tuesday was a big night in the playoff race as the Islanders, Blue Jackets and Hurricanes were all in action

The Flyers are still in third place of the Metropolitan Division and climbed to within one point of the second-place Penguins.

• The new line of Scott Laughton, Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny sure was fun to watch.

During the second period, Hayes and Konecny scored goals to help the Flyers restore order with a 3-1 lead at intermission.

Hayes tacked on another in the third period, giving him 21 markers this season. The 27-year-old is projected to break his career high of 25 set in 2017-18 and he might flirt with 30.

On Hayes' first goal, the 6-foot-5 center used his impressive reach to snag Laughton's pass and bury the shot. The Flyers are 17-0-1 when Hayes scores a goal.

Meanwhile, Konecny finished with his third three-point effort over the last four games. He had two three-point games over his first three NHL seasons.

Laughton continued his always reliable play with two assists and a plus-3 mark.

• Grant and Thompson, both acquired by the Flyers Monday, were eased into duty.

Both went scoreless as Grant committed a penalty and was solid in the faceoff circle, while Thompson centered the fourth line.

Here's how they're getting acclimated (see story).

• At home, Carter Hart has been an absolute nightmare for opponents.

With 26 saves, he improved his home mark to 17-2-2.

The 21-year-old has yielded two or fewer goals in 17 of his 21 home games. He is a must-see ticket in Philly.

• Defensemen Matt Niskanen and Travis Sanheim made clutch third-period plays to break up juicy scoring chances for the Sharks.

• Nicolas Aube-Kubel has six goals this season. He has turned into one of the biggest surprises since his mid-December call-up.

Last season, he went scoreless over nine outings, playing just 5:35 minutes per game.

• A beautiful job by the Flyers.

• The Flyers are off Wednesday and practice Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before hosting the Rangers Friday night (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Don't like the Phillie Phanatic's new look? Gritty has a message for you

Don't like the Phillie Phanatic's new look? Gritty has a message for you

When Gritty and the Phillie Phanatic met in September 2018 at Citizens Bank Park, a special bond was born.

With his best friend from across the street under the microscope for his new look, Gritty stepped up Tuesday night in defense of the Phanatic.

During the first period of the Flyers-Sharks game at the Wells Fargo Center, Gritty had a message for anyone out there not in support of the Phanatic's fresh style.

This is what best friends do.

Good for Gritty. The Phanatic would do the same for the orange fella.

Both will be reunited at the ballyard soon.

Look out.

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