The Philadelphia Flyers have won five of their first eight games and currently have the third-best record in the East Division. Apparently, that hasn’t stopped head coach Alain Vigneault from sending messages to his team though. Vigneault has confirmed to The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor that a healthy Travis Konecny will be scratched for the Flyers’ match-up with the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Vigneault’s issue with his team so far this season has been their five-on-five play and it seems Konecny will be the one to be made example of. O’Connor writes that Vigneault has been talking to team nearly every game about improving their even strength play in all three zones and has not seen any improvement from Konecny, among others. Vigneault spoke with Konecny, who he still calls one of their three best forwards, this morning and explained his decision to make him a healthy scratch. He explained the decision to O’Connor as well:
I’ve been talking to the players about it for some time, areas we need to be better at… I’ve addressed this with the group a couple of times. Not a couple of times, basically after every game, about our need to play better five-on-five, the need to do the right things, to play the right way… I came here to Philly to win a Stanley Cup, and to win a Stanley Cup, there’s a certain way that you have to play… (Konecny) is the one tonight who is not going to play. His five-on-five game needs to be better in the areas that he’s aware of.
So, Konecny will watch from the press box tonight as his coach hopes that he and his teammates finally get the message. Meanwhile, the Flyers will be without the player tied for the team lead in goals and plus/minus and among the top five in points and hits. The team only hopes that this move doesn’t come back to bite them against a good Islanders in a shortened, divisional season where every game matters that much more.