NHL Rookie Diary: Travis Konecny joins Flyers’ top line, scores first goal

NHL Rookie Diary: Travis Konecny joins Flyers’ top line, scores first goal
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Travis Konecny walked through the player’s entry door at the Wells Fargo Center a little more than an hour before their morning skate. He walked down the hall towards the player’s room and started to get prepared as he would any other time.

Then head coach Dave Hakstol approached him with that game’s lineup.

“We’re moving you up to the top line,” Hakstol told his 19-year-old forward.

Here he was, just seven NHL games under his belt, being told he was going to be paired with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.

“It was definitely really cool,” Konecny said. “I’m obviously still in the stage where I’m like ‘Oh god, it’s Giroux and Voracek.’ Any line you’re going to play on in the NHL, you’re going to be playing with good players. I just have to relax and be confident in my game and now be so starstruck all the time.”

That turned out to be the second of a few different “first moments” for Konecny that week.

Prior to his promotion — which lasted just a few days until Brayden Schenn regained his top line form — Konecny picked up a goal that every player remembers: his first.

With his team down 3-0 with momentum fully on Buffalo’s side, Konecny stepped in front of an Ivan Provorov shot that found his blade, redirecting below the goalie’s glove. It turned out that impressive goal sparked the Flyers three-goal rally and eventual shootout victory for the full two points.

Lost in the excitement of his first goal — a moment he says is right up there with any other achievement he’s had — was just how impressive of a score it was. Deflections are something Konecny has really spent a lot of hours working on.

“In junior hockey I wasn’t much of a “deflect in the crease” kind of guy but I realized at this level a lot of times if you’re going to score goals you have to be in front of the net,” Konecny said.

During his postgame interview, Konecny let out a smirk when saying his mom would probably be crying on the phone when he called her afterward. About an hour or so after the media cleared out, Konecny made that phone call.

There were a lot “we’re so proud of you” and “keep going” comments throughout that conversation.

“They made sure to keep my head in the right spot,” Konecny said. “That’s what parents are for.”

As for where he’ll store that puck, the rookie says it will “probably just sit in my room.”

After all, that memory will always be stored in his head, mostly because of how important that score proved to be but also because the image of him smiling, posing with the puck in his right hand seems to be everywhere on the internet.

“It’s been all over my social media, so it’s been on my mind constantly,” Konecny said with a laugh.

First goal? Check.

Playing on the first line? Check.

How about playing in his first Flyers-Penguins rivalry game? Check.

This past week sure was one he’ll never forget.

Keeping Up with Konecny past diaries

A trip to remember (10/24)