All you need is three letters to sum up the past week for Flyers rookie Travis Konecny: ugh.
In what started out as a promising beginning to his rookie season, Konecny had to fight through a 22-game stretch without a goal before finding himself as a healthy scratch recently. Now he faces another challenge after it was announced he would miss four to six weeks with a lower-body injury.
His teammates know he’ll be missed in the lineup.
“He’s one of my good friends,” said Nick Cousins, who shares a locker stall next to the rookie. “I thought he’s been playing pretty good hockey for us all year.”
Prior to suffering an injury against the St. Louis Blues, Konecny had spent the previous two games watching from the press box. At the time, head coach Dave Hakstol said that Konecny and Shayne Gostisbehere, who has been scratched for three games, have some things they can “improve upon in their game.”
Konecny won’t get that chance for at least another month as he now will watch his teammates from afar, this time listed on the injury report.
“It’s a learning experience for all the guys,” Cousins said. “I sat out my share of games this year, the game sort of slows down. It’s unfortunate to see but it’s a part of the game. I think he’s only going to come back stronger.”
Cousins said he felt Konecny was “just starting to get the hang of the NHL” before this setback. If there’s one area his absence will be felt, it’s most certainly going to be in the locker room.
Multiple teammates said the 19-year-old has an infectious energy both on and off the ice. His return will be met with much excitement for that reason.
“He likes coming to the rink everyday,” Cousins said. “He has fun out there. We’re playing hockey for a living so there’s not much to be angry about.”
Along with Cousins, Ivan Provorov and Konecny have become very close since being drafted by the organization in the same year. While the rookie defenseman hasn’t spoken to him since his MRI on Tuesday, he knows he’s already doing all he can to ensure the fastest recovery.
“He’s an important player to our team,” Provorov said. “He creates a lot of offense. Just let him recover and get well and get back into it … I think he’s been getting better every day [this season].”
The always-candid Jake Voracek offered some words of encouragement to Konecny as he deals with his first injury at this level.
“You have to find a way to battle back,” Voracek said. “You can’t change the past so there’s nothing you can do about it. He’s a good kid, he’s a great player. He’ll prepare himself for the time he comes back.”