Flyers

Travis Konecny answering Flyers' call of duty

Travis Konecny answering Flyers' call of duty

Travis Konecny is one of a handful of young Flyers who thrives on confrontation, lining up an opponent in his crosshairs and going for the kill.

And that’s just his profile in Call of Duty — the popular war-based video game he plays occasionally with teammates.

And while Konecny didn't show up on the score sheet Sunday evening, he still answered his call of duty, leading the charge in a variety of ways in the Flyers' 6-3 win over the Capitals that inched the Flyers within four points of division-leading Washington and two points of Pittsburgh for second place. All three teams return to action Tuesday with the Flyers in Detroit.

Battered, bloodied and perhaps a little beaten, Konecny was determined that the Capitals weren’t going to get the best of him.

“I just think I’ve learned in the two years I’ve been here it doesn’t matter what your role is on the team,” Konecny said after the game. “Everybody buys in, everybody blocks shots, everyone goes to the net, everyone backchecks. I think it’s a part of me that’s learned to become a Philadelphia Flyer.”

The orange and black uniform was only a cover for the black and blue bruises Konecny’s body endured. In the third period, he stood directly in the line of fire of Christian Djoos’ shot and then limped back to the locker room. On his next shift, Konecny blocked another shot from Dmitri Orlov.

Even after giving all the postgame interviews, Konecny was still limping. The playing surface at the Wells Fargo Center may not have had enough ice for all of his sore spots.

“He’s got the heart of a lion and I think you’ve seen that all year long,” said Wayne Simmonds, who tallied twice in the win. “I kept telling him that’s what winners are made of. It’s the type of effort we’re going to need from every single guy in this dressing room. He blocks one shot, he gets up slowly, gets back on the ice, blocks another.”

The clean-cut and rather reserved Konecny that came to the Flyers as a 19-year-old rookie last season has now been replaced with a more brash, tattoo-sporting, always-chirping Konecny with a longer hairstyle and the appearance of facial hair.

The only missing element to complete the look is a leather biker’s jacket.  

That rugged toughness was on display again when he dropped the gloves with Washington winger T.J. Oshie and bloodied his knuckles 7:41 into the third period.

“I just got high-sticked right before,” Konecny said. “I got frustrated and I finished my hit on him. Not a bad guy to take off the ice when they’re trying to score."

“It was awesome. It was great to see,” Simmonds said. “You see him get high-sticked there. He didn’t quit on the play and kept going. He battles with a guy who’s probably 20 pounds bigger, maybe more than that. It was a great emotional leap for the team in the third period there. Unbelievable job and kudos to him.”

Konecny, who has 19 goals and 22 asissts on the season and has earned Dave Hakstol's trust with a bump up to the first line alongside Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, has quickly rounded into a five-tool player this season with speed, playmaking, a scoring touch with a hard-nosed edge. Much like Brad Marchand with the Bruins, that type of player becomes vital once the postseason rolls around.

“It gives the bench a good injection of life,” Hakstol said. “They love it and guys love to see that on the bench. I think that’s what our guys expect, but it’s always great when you see one guy doing it.”  

Which is probably why Konecny enjoys that other Call of Duty. Another game with a similar approach, except a lot less painful.

Raffl out
Forward Michael Raffl will miss two weeks with an upper-body injury suffered in the second period against the Capitals Sunday. Raffl, who has 11 goals and eight assists this year, had been seeing some time on the top line with Giroux and Couturier recently.

German Rubtsov, Mike Vecchione among Flyers' 11 cuts

German Rubtsov, Mike Vecchione among Flyers' 11 cuts

As expected, the Flyers reduced their training camp roster by 11 players on Thursday.

After signing 18-year-old defenseman Yegor Zamula to an entry-level contract, the Flyers assigned him to his junior team, the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.

Of the 10 players assigned to the Phantoms, five are forwards: Colin McDonald, David Kase, German Rubtsov, Mike Vecchione and Connor Bunnaman. Perhaps, the one surprise in this group is Rubtsov, who scored his first preseason goal against the Rangers Wednesday, and continued to impress the coaching staff with his strong two-way game and smart, responsible play with the puck.

However, the Flyers appear to be deep at the center position with Mikhail Vorobyev and Corban Knight also turning in solid performances throughout the week.

General manager Ron Hextall also sent down five defensemen: Reece Willcox, David Drake, Frank Hora, James de Haas and Zach Palmquist. No real surprises here as the Flyers continue to search for depth as they move closer to the regular season.  

The Flyers' roster has been trimmed down to 25 forwards and 11 defensemen with Philippe Myers, Mark Friedman and T.J. Brennan vying for one or two spots on the opening night roster, depending on Andrew MacDonald’s availability. 

The notable forwards still competing for a job include 2016 third-round pick Carsen Twarynski and 2014 second-round selection Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Oskar Lindblom, Vorobyev, Myers and Aube-Kubel are among the Flyers who will play Friday night against the Islanders at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Expect a good number of prospects to play in that exhibition game.

Here’s a look at the remaining roster:

Forwards (25)
Claude Giroux
Sean Couturier
Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton
Dale Weise
Jordan Weal
Travis Konecny
Wayne Simmonds
Taylor Leier
Michael Raffl
Jori Lehtera
Nolan Patrick
James van Riemsdyk
Oskar Lindblom
Tyrell Goulbourne
Phil Varone
Cole Bardreau
Danick Martel
Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Greg Carey
Carsen Twarynski
Mikhail Vorobyev
Radel Fazleev
Pascal Laberge

Defensemen (11)
Ivan Provorov
Shayne Gostisbehere
Andrew MacDonald
Radko Gudas
Robert Hagg
Christian Folin
Travis Sanheim
Philippe Myers
T.J. Brennan
Mark Friedman
*Samuel Morin

Goaltenders (5)
Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth
*Alex Lyon
Carter Hart
Anthony Stolarz

*Currently injured

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Alex Lyon out approximately 4 weeks with lower-body injury

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Alex Lyon out approximately 4 weeks with lower-body injury

The Flyers on Thursday announced goalie Alex Lyon will be sidelined approximately four weeks with a lower-body injury. 

Lyon was scheduled to start Tuesday's road matchup against the Islanders but was scratched after sustaining the injury during warmups. His preseason comes to a close having appeared in just one game, logging 30 minutes and stopping nine of the 10 shots he faced against the Islanders Sept. 16.

With Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth at the NHL level, Lyon was slated to begin the season in Lehigh Valley in competition with Anthony Stolarz and mega-prospect Carter Hart for playing time, with Lyon battling Stolarz for a call-up should injuries hit the Flyers’ goaltenders.

Lyon re-signed with the Flyers on a two-year contract in July. The 25-year-old made his NHL debut last season, posting a 4-2-1 record with a 2.75 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in 11 games.

At the AHL level, Lyon was 16-8-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average during the regular season. Lyon helped the Phantoms reach the Eastern Conference Finals by posting a 1.98 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in 11 playoff games.

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