Less iPad, same bite — Konecny providing answers for Flyers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
VOORHEES, N.J. — Nobody can say Travis Konecny didn't do his homework.
Last season, a long and miserable one for the Flyers, Konecny searched for answers. He was not scoring anywhere close to the level in which he did his 2019-20 All-Star season. Despite the club being well out of the playoff race, Konecny saw some results down the stretch.
The 25-year-old was enlightened by information given to him from special assistant to the GM Danny Briere and director of hockey analytics Ian Anderson.
This season, Konecny is flourishing, looking like that constant scoring threat and annoying pest the Flyers love to have behind the steering wheel. In 36 games, he has already matched his career high of 24 goals to go along with 22 assists.
Studying has paid off.
"It's been great," Konecny said Wednesday after netting a hat trick in the Flyers' 5-3 win over the Capitals. "That stuff I never really looked at before. Having the opportunity to see it on a video and a paper really helped me out.
"It's more of just when I get rid of the puck, where I funnel into rather than play on the outside. And then instead of taking shots on the outside, maybe make a play instead of just wasting a shot."
But as much as John Tortorella advocates preparation, he doesn't want his players overthinking come game time. His system is predicated on "don’t think, just do." He likes that about Konecny's playing style.
Stop the homework during games. Just go out and play, kid.
Tortorella and the Flyers recently took away the access to iPads on the bench. In between shifts, some players may like to grab an iPad and watch a previous shift to see what they did well or could have done differently.
"We took them off the bench, we don't have them on the bench anymore because I just want them worrying about the next shift," the Flyers' head coach said Wednesday. "I think it's a major problem with us understanding momentums of the game. You can't understand momentums of a game if you're looking at the iPad all the time.
"So we took them off, we're not even going to use them, so they watch the game and see what's next. T.K. does that within his game all the time. And he's one of the ones that looks at that damn thing all the time."
And the Flyers don't ever want Konecny to lose his tactics of engagement — getting under the skin of the opposition and his teammates fueling on it.
"That's one of the beauties of T.K., he's not afraid to go after anybody," Cam York said Friday after practice. "And he can also put it in the back of the net. He's a unique player. He's not overly huge. He's like a little rat out there. He's pretty fun to watch.
"I think as a young guy, it's good to have a guy like that in the locker room, have someone that sets the bar high and does everything at a high pace."
The Flyers are at their best when Konecny is right in the middle of recess. Not worrying about getting in trouble.
Konecny doesn't have to change anything there.
"He's contagious," Tortorella said Friday. "You have to draw off of him by the way he plays. It's just nonstop. I respect him for it because he just carries himself the right way.
"He makes a ton of mistakes, but it's for the right reason, he's just trying to make a difference. It's a huge part of today's athlete versus back in the day when everybody was trying to not make mistakes. Mistakes were being coached the hell out of them during games by coaches.
"Let it go. And T.K. lets it go. More often than none, of course of late, it has worked out pretty well for him and our team."
Konecny enters the weekend on a 10-game point streak in which has posted 12 goals and eight assists. Since Dec. 1, he has the same number of goals as Connor McDavid and Tage Thompson (17). Only David Pastrnak has more over that span (18).
For the Flyers, a big part of this 2022-23 season was seeing what their young players could really do, Konecny being one of them.
"We want to find out what we have," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in September. "Even take a player like Travis Konecny. Is he a 50-point guy or is he a 70-point guy? Let’s push here a little bit, let’s see what we have."
Konecny is on pace for 50-plus goals and 97 points.
Working with Briere has helped, but Konecny deserves his own credit, too. He has given the Flyers some answers.
"In talking to Danny, they sat down quite a bit as far as playing on the inside," Tortorella said Wednesday. "He was on the outside a lot and his stats weren't there where he wanted them to be. I think he put the time in.
"I think Danny as an ex-player helped him and showed him some stuff. But the most important thing, he puts the uniform on and he's got to run with it. I think he has done a really good job."
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