VOORHEES, N.J. — All indicators from Saturday’s morning skate pointed to the Flyers’ 2019-20 main scorer and objective scorer being benched for tonight’s recreation in opposition to the Islanders on the Wells Fargo Heart.
Travis Konecny was not on both energy play unit in follow as he stayed off to the aspect after which skated with the opposite obvious scratches (Robert Hagg, Nate Prosser and Brian Elliott) following the morning session.
Samuel Morin, the membership’s thirteenth ahead who has not appeared in a recreation but this season, led the workforce’s post-practice stretches. Sometimes, when a participant leads stretches, there’s some sort of significance to it. Additionally, teammates typically faucet their sticks or cheer throughout such a second, relying on the explanation, nevertheless it was fairly quiet and subdued Saturday given the circumstances of Konecny showing to be out of the lineup.
Head coach Alain Vigneault confirmed in his pregame media availability at 4:45 p.m. ET that Konecny could be scratched tonight.
“I imagine that T.Ok. is one in every of our prime three forwards, great potential, is performing some issues proper like going to the online, stopping and scoring a few large objectives for us,” Vigneault mentioned. “However I additionally imagine that proper now our 5-on-5 play isn’t the place it must be. I have been speaking to the gamers about it for a while, areas that I imagine that we must be higher at, areas that now we have been good at prior to now. T.Ok. is the one tonight that’s not going to play. His 5-on-5 recreation must be higher within the areas that he is conscious of; I had a superb dialog with him this morning and count on him, the subsequent time he is again within the lineup, to play the best means.”
Konecny didn’t have a shot on objective and had two giveaways in 17:33 minutes of the Flyers’ 3-1 win Thursday over the Devils. He performed solely 4:20 within the third interval and performed round 30 seconds within the closing 5 minutes of the sport. After the sport, Vigneault was left displeased with and perplexed by the performances of his top two forward lines in the first two periods.
Getting Morin a recreation in a back-to-back set could be one factor, however doing so on the expense of Konecny’s spot within the lineup says one thing. That is the Flyers’ first recreation in opposition to the workforce that eradicated them in a second-round Recreation 7 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This can be a loud message despatched from Vigneault 9 video games into the 2020-21 season. Konecny was an All-Star final season and led the Flyers in objectives (24) and factors (61) over 66 video games. The 23-year-old winger has 5 objectives, three assists and a plus-5 mark by the primary eight video games of this season.
“There is a larger recreation, there is a 200-foot recreation that you might want to play,” Vigneault mentioned. “Tonight he’ll get a possibility to reset and I am certain the subsequent time he’ll be within the lineup, he’ll be actual good for us.”
The message isn’t solely despatched to Konecny, but in addition to the Flyers’ complete roster. Regardless of their 5-2-1 begin, the Flyers have been outshot in seven of their eight video games, with 5 of them by double-digit margins. Final season, the Flyers allowed the NHL’s fewest pictures per recreation.
“I’ve addressed this with the group a few occasions — not a few occasions, mainly after each recreation — about our must play higher 5-on-5. Our must do the best issues, to play the best means,” Vigneault mentioned. “My intention, and I got here right here to Philly to win a Stanley Cup, and to win a Stanley Cup there’s a sure means that you must play. I’m particularly speaking to the ahead group proper now. I feel our D is making an attempt actual laborious to play the best means. We gained’t be excellent, we gained’t be excellent on protection and up entrance, however there’s a sure means that you might want to play, sure choices you might want to make with and with out the puck. That’s what I’m right here to do and that’s what I’m going to get out of this group.”
Philippe Myers will return Saturday night time from a fractured rib. He skated alongside Travis Sanheim and is nice to go. Carter Hart will begin in internet, whereas Brian Elliott is predicted to play the second recreation of the back-to-back set Sunday.
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