Flyers

What Travis Konecny pondered this summer has him playing like a star for Flyers

What Travis Konecny pondered this summer has him playing like a star for Flyers

As Travis Konecny waited out the entire offseason before inking his new contract, signaling his first real payday in the NHL, there was ample time for self-reflection.

“I thought a lot this summer about who I am as a player,” Konecny said last week.

The 22-year-old was coming off back-to-back 24-goal seasons and looked poised for a significant leap in 2019-20, especially after signing a six-year, $33 million deal.

Konecny wasn’t daydreaming about lofty goals or inflated production.

“I really wanted to do what was best for the team and every single night focus on two points,” he said. “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.”

On Sunday night, Konecny played more than just a mere part. This was a stage for stars, a game at TD Garden against a team with three Stanley Cup Final appearances and a title over the past nine seasons. Names like David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara were featured in the Bruins’ lineup, opposing Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier and the Flyers.

And Konecny was a star.

He has been one this season for the Flyers, who are off to their best start since 2011-12, when the team last eclipsed 100 points and won a playoff series.

In just over a four-minute span Sunday, Konecny seized control of TD Garden with a goal and primary assist, handing the Flyers a surprising 2-0 lead during the first period. He finished with two points and a plus-2 mark as the Flyers took down the home-dominant Bruins, 3-2, in a shootout (see observations).

Both the mighty Pastrnak and the four-time Selke Trophy award winner Bergeron went scoreless, while Marchand potted a goal.

The Flyers didn’t receive big-time numbers from their household guys as Giroux and Voracek failed to crack the score sheet. James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes also went without a point.

But Konecny has made those types of games OK and winnable for the Flyers, even when facing a Bruins group that was 7-0-1 at home and among the NHL’s top-five teams in points, goals per game and fewest goals allowed per game.

Last season, the Flyers were 10-19-2 when Giroux went scoreless and 10-19-2 when Voracek went scoreless. This season, they already have five wins when Giroux has gone scoreless and seven wins when Voracek has gone scoreless.

Sure, Konecny has put up his fair share of points with a team-leading 19 (eight goals, 11 assists) to push the Flyers to a 10-5-2 record through 17 games.

Most importantly, though, he has stuck to what he thought about this summer — consistently doing what is best for his team every single night.

Right now, that’s playing like a star.

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Flyers sign prospect Wade Allison to entry-level contract

Flyers sign prospect Wade Allison to entry-level contract

There are no more worries about the Flyers' college prospects.

Four days after Tanner Laczynski inked a deal with the organization, the Flyers signed Wade Allison to his two-year entry-level contract Friday.

Both college seniors had rights to the Flyers that were set to expire Aug. 15. Now the 2016 draft picks are officially in the fold for the future.

Allison, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound winger out of Western Michigan, will bring a craftiness around the net and powerful shot to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

“We are very happy to have Wade under contract,” Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in a statement released by the team. “He possesses a great package of size, speed and skill, and we strongly believe he’ll be an NHL power forward moving forward.”

The second-round selection has battled injuries during his time with the Broncos, including a torn ACL his sophomore year. That season, Allison was on a torrid pace with 15 goals and 15 assists in 22 games before suffering the injury. As a senior in 2019-20, Allison put up 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) and a plus-11 mark in 26 games.

Allison will turn 23 years old in October and his experience could help him climb quickly. Health will be vital, as well. There's a lot to like, though, with Allison's overall ability.

In the last 18 days, the Flyers have signed prospects Allison, Laczynski and Wyatte Wylie to entry-level deals.

Another college player to keep an eye on is Wyatt Kalynuk, who is coming off his junior season at Wisconsin. The defenseman can return to Madison for his senior year or turn pro in 2020-21 as his rights don't expire until the summer of 2021.

Meanwhile, the rights to prospects Linus Hogberg and David Bernhardt, two Swedish blueliners in the Flyers' system, expire June 1.



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Flyers' Game 6 win over Oilers at the Spectrum was The Best Game I Ever Saw Live

Flyers' Game 6 win over Oilers at the Spectrum was The Best Game I Ever Saw Live

Seventeen thousand, two hundred and twenty-two.

In 1987, that was the capacity for a hockey game at the Spectrum (WFC today: 19,537). I would suggest that on May 28, 1987, that number was elevated like a Brian Propp slap shot — because the Flyers hosted the Edmonton Oilers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. It would be the last Flyers home game of season. It was the ticket of the spring season in Philadelphia. Sixers games, concerts, Phillies games — nothing came close to the anticipation, the electricity surrounding this game.

Why? 

The orange and black were supposed to get swept by an Oilers team that featured seven future NHL Hall of Famers starting with Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Grant Fuhr.

But the Flyers had some great players of their own — Propp, Rick Tocchet, Ron Hextall. Trailing 3-2 in the series, they returned to the Spectrum hoping to force a Game 7.

I was covering the game for Channel 3 and I had close to an ice-side seat. No, I didn’t sit in the press box. The press box was overflowing because of the clamor surrounding the game. The Spectrum's press box was not that big. So, Lou Tilley (Channel 3), Joe Pellegrino (Channel 10) and I were about 10 rows from the glass, slightly left of the Flyers' bench. It was awesome. Until the Oilers scored the first two goals and the Flyers were staring at elimination.

To the third period with the Flyers trailing 2-1. With 6:56 left in the game, on the power play, Propp! The goal capped off an awesome rush that saw the puck go to Pelle Eklund in the corner and he snapped it cross ice to Propp, who was in the slot and put it past Fuhr. Tied at 2!

The reason this game was so special to me, the reason I recall it here, was not just because of the excitement on the ice. I have been blessed to attend every manner of sporting events in the world — World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Olympics, major tennis championships, track meets. I’ve never heard fans as loud as I did that Thursday night in South Philadelphia. They made the building tremble — like aftershocks from an earthquake.

If the volume was dialed to 10 for the Propp goal, it was at a 15 1:24 later. That’s when J.J. Daigneault (Dane-YO!) scooped up a weak Oilers’ clear attempt. The puck waffled to him lightly just inside the blue line. And he hammered it. One-timer. With Scott Mellanby standing at the crease screening Fuhr. The Flyers had the lead 3-2!  

You couldn’t hear yourself speak let alone think. I’m telling you, Tilley and I were right up to each other’s ears trying to hear each other. Not a word. The fans were screaming and stomping and shouting and laughing. Eventually we gave up and just took it in. The roof blew off the Spectrum in its first season in 1967. It almost came off again on this night. Pow! The sheer, unchecked joy of the 17,222 (plus a few more) in attendance that night is something I will always remember. It was the joy of possibility because the Flyers had evened up the series at three games apiece. 

Really, that’s all you can ask for is possibility. Hope. They had that going to Edmonton for Game 7. And when Murray Craven scored the game’s first goal, I thought, “We’re having a parade down Broad Street!” But ... Edmonton, on its home ice, scored the next two goals and battle as the Flyers might they couldn’t get the equalizer. The Oilers added one more inside two minutes to play and that was that. The Oilers were champs. Again.

But, I’ll always hear the echo of those two Flyers goals at the Spectrum the night the team took Game 6.

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