Konecny, Provorov win over Hex­tall, make ros­ter

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Par­ent rpar­ent@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Reluc­tan­tSE on Twit­ter

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.

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