Konecny, Provorov win over Hextall, make roster
VOORHEES, N.J. >> All through the most exciting month or so of his life, Travis Konecny was trying to lay low, keep cool.
Even when his Nana took to Twitter to engage Maple Leafs fans in speculating the chances Travis had to make the team in Philadelphia, Konecny “tried to keep off it.”
Even when the media began to ask him questions about his standout performances, about the way he was starting to pile up points — Konecny’s six points (3 goals, 3 assists) led the Flyers in preseason scoring — Konecny knew to low-key his answers, even if they carried an edge of confidence.
“I came into the camp with the minset of making the team,” Konecny said Monday. “The pieces were just kind of falling into place for me as I kept going through camp. I kept getting put into spots to have a good opportunity to prove myself and what I can do. The preseason games started going well for me and I started feeling confident. I think at that point I kind of settled in and thought if I kept doing what I was doing and stay comfortable and confident in my abilities that I had a good chance to make the team.”
True to that firm belief (and quiet hope), Konecny was summoned by Ron Hextall late Sunday night and would find out he indeed had made the Flyers out of camp as a 19-yearold forward. He would join defenseman Ivan Provorov, also 19, in that achievement.
“I know some guys get caught up in looking at the roster and trying to figure out where they’re going to fall,” Konecny said. “I tried to stay away from it. I worked hard each and every day . ... I never tried to guess and do the numbers game. That just gets to you.”
Provorov, probably the Flyers’ best defender in camp overall, was equally confident.
“For me,” he said, “I tried to show up every day, and work as hard as I can to prove that I belonged here.”
While nothing is guaranteed, Hextall has vowed these won’t be temporary appointments; he says Konecny and Provorov should expect to stay here beyond the nine-game limit for teen players to return to their junior teams.
“They’re here. They made our team. This isn’t a tryout. I don’t believe in that,” Hextall said. “If I felt like either player wasn’t ready to be here the whole year, they wouldn’t be here right now.”
Hextall didn’t shortchange either teen on the dramatics. He texted both of them Sunday night and asked them to come over from their extended-stay hotel rooms across the street to his office in the Skate Zone.
“I think it was a bit of a buildup,” Konecny said. “It was just asking for us to come over to a meeting here at the rink so we just came in together . ... He congratulated me right away so I had a good feeling about it.”
Konecny said having Hextall tell him he isn’t planning to make this a nine-game audition made a difference.
“Obviously I still have to perform and do what I have to do to make the roster each and every day and work hard,” he said. “But hearing it’s not a nine-game tryout kind of gave me relief to relax a little bit.
“My dad obviously was really proud of me. My mom didn’t say much. It was more tears and excitement for her . ... The long trips, the drives up and down the 401 (highway) back at home, and hockey schools, it all just came into one moment with my family. My brother (21-year-old Chase) is going to be the biggest fan in the building. It’s going to be awesome.”
Gudas gets six-game suspension
Radko Gudas, who rightly escaped a league review for his hit on Rangers rookie Jimmy Vesey just a week ago, did not get away with the one he laid on diminutive rookie Austin Czarnik in Boston Saturday.
Citing Gudas for being too late on the hit, noting that it caused the rookie to be injured, and stressing that Gudas is “a repeat offender,” the league disciplinarians slapped him with a six-game suspension Monday evening.