ALLENTOWN, Pa. — There’s a very good chance Travis Sanheim’s season isn’t over just yet.
Eleven days after sustaining an ugly knee injury in a collision with Checkers forward Valentin Zykov, Sanheim was skating with Lehigh Valley teammates Phil Varone and goaltender Anthony Stolarz Tuesday morning prior to the team’s practice at the PPL Center.
“I think with Phil and Travis, it’s not a question of if, but when,” Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said. “I think they’re moving in the right direction and we’ll see how the week goes.”
The Phantoms returned to Allentown, Pennsylvania, for the first time since May 5 after sweeping three games in Charlotte, advancing to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals against the Toronto Marlies, starting Saturday. While Sanheim isn’t expected to play in the first two games of the series, there’s a stronger possibility he could return to action when the series shifts back to Allentown for Games 3, 4 and 5.
Stolarz hasn’t played since making his Phantoms season debut on March 24, allowing six goals on 35 shots to the Providence Bruins. He reinjured his surgically repaired knee and has spent the better part of the past seven months in rehabilitation.
However, Stolarz is expected to join the team when it leaves for Toronto later in the week.
“I think he’s been officially cleared health-wise,” Gordon said. “I don’t want to say I’m 100 percent, but I’m 95 percent he’s officially been cleared. He’s going to make the trip to Toronto because of it.”
The news surrounding defenseman Samuel Morin doesn’t appear so optimistic. The Flyers' defensive prospect sustained an apparent knee injury last Wednesday in the first period of the five-overtime thriller against the Checkers.
Internally, there’s concern that Morin may not be 100 percent when training camp opens in September.
Travis Konecny went toe to toe with familiar faces in the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Friday night.
Among the eight-player field for the fastest skater event, four players were from the 2015 draft class.
Konecny went 24th overall to the Flyers and Mathew Barzal No. 16 to the Islanders, while Connor McDavid was selected No. 1 by the Oilers followed by Jack Eichel at No. 2 to the Sabres.
The first-time All-Star Konecny couldn't take down McDavid, but the competition's three-time reigning champ was dethroned by Barzal at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.
Konecny had fun in the event and scored during the goalie competition.
Right at the start line, I could see my parents, brother and girlfriend, so that was pretty cool — they were right there," Konecny said Friday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "I was just having fun with them, they're enjoying it just as much as I was. We had a little moment after I finished my lap and I think I was near the bottom, they're laughing and I was laughing. It was over with and I could enjoy the rest of the night.
When you think of Travis Konecny, you think of a first-round pick, A-plus chirper, currently in the middle of a breakout season and now an NHL All-Star. Konecny has had quite the career through his first four seasons with the Flyers and there will be much more to look forward to in the coming years.
For now, here are the 10 best moments since becoming a Flyer that make Konecny, well … Konecny.
Chirp central When NBC released "Wired: Stadium Series," Konecny officially became one of the best chirpers in the league. His quick wit during the game was iconic when he was on one of the biggest regular-season platforms in the NHL. Personal favorite chirp has to go to, “Eat up, bud!”
Speaking of Nolan ... During the 2018-19 season, Flyers TV had a special on the youth of the team where a lot of it focused on the bromance of Konecny and Patrick. From tying ties to trying to get out of a parking garages, there’s a bunch of quality bits in there.
The offseason with T.K. Before going into the 2017-18 season, the Flyers gave everyone a sneak peek of what the offseason is like for Konecny when it comes to training and conditioning, his childhood town (which only has one stop sign), life on the farm and tons of fishing … tons of fishing.
Reporting for duty One of the most exciting moments of 2019 came once Konecny finally signed his contract and reported to training camp to be with his teammates and new head coach Alain Vigneault. The Flyers’ Twitter account had a field day with the announcement, replying to just about every "sign T.K." tweet there was on the platform. They even responded to my post about me talking about how they signed him … by letting me know they signed him. A-plus job.
His career best There have been multiple times in his career, five to be exact, in which Konecny wound up having a three-point game. They have become much more frequent this season, having three of the five coming in the first half of the 2019-20 season. While none of these three-point nights have resulted in a hat trick, I’m sure the next time he’s an All-Star that’s going to be a different story.
A whole lot of fighting There’s no shortage of footage when it comes to Konecny dropping the gloves. This place on this list is dedicated to T.K. dropping the gloves and the penalty minutes endured because of it.
A different kind of fight It’s hard to forget the impact young Zach Steward had on all of us during Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Wells Fargo Center. No one was impacted more than Konecny. Steward had given his favorite player a "Strong then, stronger now" bracelet, worn by those who want to support him in his second battle of cancer. While it was an inspiring moment for Konecny to wear it for that game, he continues to wear it all season long and it doesn’t go unnoticed.
“I think it really shows a lot about his character,” Steward said. “And that he has a big heart not just on the ice, but off the ice.
“Just a small simple gesture means a lot and makes my day every time I see him with it on.”
Evolving into his final form It seems like that chipped tooth Konecny got on Jan. 11 might have been a good luck charm. Since that game, he’s averaged a point per game through five games. The chip may have been fixed but the power of it remains.