NHL All-Star Travis Konecny Opens Up About His Breakout Season, Playing with a Contract, Chirping at Opponents, and More
The Flyers enter the All-Star Break with a renewed sense of confidence after knocking off some of the best teams in the league over the past two weeks, including Washington, Boston, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. Sure, they’ve had a clunker or two (see: Montreal), but for the most part, this team is ahead of where many expected them to be at this point in the season. Prior to the season on Snow The Goalie, Anthony and I laid out a list of “ifs” that needed to go right for the Flyers to contend for a playoff spot in a highly-competitive Metropolitan Division with a ridiculous playoff seeding system. I would argue that the biggest breakout star this season has come from fourth-year forward Travis Konecny, who’s just six points away from tying his career high in points at the NHL level, despite being just over half of the way through the season.
Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to sit down with Konecny to discuss his breakout season and how having his contract situation resolved has been allowed him to play freely. He also shared some stories about interacting with fans, calling Malkin a “****ing nerd”, which of his teammates is a low-key chirper on the ice, and what he watches while away from the ice.
Next week, we’ll release our interviews with defenseman Matt Niskanen and rising star Joel Farabee. If you haven’t subscribed to Snow The Goalie already, please make sure you do. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and wherever else you get your podcasts!
Full transcript of the interview, video, and link to the podcast after the jump.
Anthony [00:00:00] Now, we’d like to welcome into Snow the Goalie, a very special guest, Russ, Philadelphia Flyers All-Star Travis Konecny. Travis, thanks for joining us here on Snow the Goalie.
Konecny [00:00:08] Thanks for having me.
Russ [00:00:08] How does that feel, by the way? Have you gotten used to it yet?
Konecny [00:00:13] I mean, it hasn’t really settled in yet. No, but I’m sure it will, once the break starts here and it’s kind of my next stop, I think I’ll start getting the nerves for it and excitement.
Anthony [00:00:21] Are you going to take part in any of the pregame festivities like the fastest skater or shot?
Konecny [00:00:29] I believe so. Yeah, I think it’s up to the team captain. So we’ll have to see what they put me in. But, yeah, I’m actually I’m kind of nervous for that, too, because that can either be a good thing or a bad thing depending what you’re going in.
Russ [00:00:43] Well, this is gonna come out before the All-Star game. So if you want to make a public plea right now, is there… If you could pick at a part of the skills contest to be in, is there one that you have your eye on?
Konecny [00:00:55] Preferably nothing with a puck. So, just…
Anthony [00:00:59] Just skate, right?
Konecny [00:01:01] Fastest lap, yeah, that would be one that I’d be interested in.
Anthony [00:01:05] Well, let’s talk about the season, because in a lot of ways, you know, you had really two really nice seasons the last two year. But in a lot of ways this is your “breakout”, right? For so far. How have you felt? I mean, how’s it been for you? And, you know, obviously your confidence level has to be sky high right now.
Konecny [00:01:21] Yeah, it’s been… It’s definitely been, you know, a season that I didn’t expect. You know, it’s just coming in and trying to better myself two-way game, like, focus on the things that I hadn’t been able to focus on previously. And yeah, I mean, I definitely feel more confident with the puck and it helps, you know, the guys I’m playing with too are… you know, they make it easy sometimes when they put the puck on your stick, you don’t expect it. So, all around, I’ve been pretty happy with the season.
Anthony [00:01:50] And what’s it like playing? I mean, you guys have not just AV, but you have three basically former NHL head coaches.
Konecny [00:01:57] Yeah.
Anthony [00:01:58] Now one is the head coach, two assistants. What’s it like playing for those guys and them having such… holding you guys, you know, really accountable for the way you play night in, night out?
Konecny [00:02:07] Yeah, I think it’s an it’s an interesting setup. And I think a lot of people were unsure how it was going to work with three, you know, possibly head coaches. And in my opinion, they’ve done a great job. The two assistants for sure, you know, in my opinion, have done a tremendous job being more personal and, you know, talking with the players, get to know them on a different level. And AV’s done that, too, and did his own homework on everybody. But I think they’ve done a great job. And I mean it when they have to step up and hold you accountable, you know, French Michael, will come down the bench and you know me and Beezer are both aware of that. You gotta be on your toes. But, you know, at the same time, you know, he knows how to let that head coach side of him go and, you know, relate to the players.
Russ [00:02:57] AV talked a lot, when he sat down with us before the season, about not wanting to go back and watch any film on anybody from the previous season. I don’t totally believe him, but that’s what he said. From your perspective, having a new coach come in and knowing the kind of clout that he brings, the kind of legitimacy he brings as a coach, not to say that the previous coaches weren’t, but this is a different level. How important was it for you to get off to a quick start? I mean, I know guys say that every year you have to get start, but like especially for this coach.
Konecny [00:03:23] Yeah. It was important to me. And I mean, he made it clear to me, though, that he wasn’t going to look into the past. And we sat down and had a conversation and he showed me a blank sheet of paper and said, “This is what I know about you right now. And it’s up to you to fill it in.” And, you know, I took that pretty seriously, that it was my chance to prove to the coach that I can play in every situation and it’s been good so far. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve played when we’re up one goal and I’ve played like the last six minutes of a game. So it’s a little different for me being out there.
Anthony [00:04:00] Do you ever go back, and this question’s coming out of nowhere, but do you ever go back and watch like a TV replay of yourself, especially after you get knocked to the ice or… You always seem to like have this look on your face, like what just happened? Do people give you any hard time about that or anything?
Konecny [00:04:18] I mean, other than my mom saying, “Get off the ice.” I don’t really hear about it, but I know exactly what you’re talking about. Well, I fall too much, too, so I probably have it on my face the whole game.
Anthony [00:04:28] I always think like you got like a future in acting a lot of times when I see that.
Konecny [00:04:33] I might. I don’t know. I hope not.
Russ [00:04:35] Well, the funny thing is, like, the more people that follow us and the more we kind of get back with with the listeners and such, the more we start to find that there are a lot of young women who follow this team who will take clips of you getting off the ice with the hair over the face and flipping your hair back. And I mean, I’m not I’m not trying to embarrass you or anything, but I don’t know how does it feel to be somebody that a lot of the ladies in the fan base are cued in on?
Konecny [00:05:02] I don’t know. Yeah. That should be young Beezer taking over that. Yeah. It’s pretty funny. I mean, it’s something to laugh about. You know, you try to be nice to the fans, but there’s been some funny ones. I remember the first time I actually was having my girlfriend come visit me and we were kind of new and fresh and we were leaving the rink and I pulled over to sign some autographs and some girls started crying in my window of my car and my girlfriend’s looking at me like, “what’s going on?” And I was like, “I dunno.” It’s pretty funny that you mentioned that.
Anthony [00:05:45] Well, you’re like a meme, too. Like they meme you all the time.
Konecny [00:05:49] Oh do they?
Russ [00:05:49] Oh, yeah. I clipped the other day. It was the pass from JVR. And you said, “What an effing pass.” And somebody came over to you. I forget who it was. He came right up next to you. And you’re like, “What a pass, huh?” This thing went nuts. Like, people went crazy about it.
Konecny [00:06:04] Really?
Russ [00:06:04] Yeah. It’s funny, because like I have to give you credit on this one. A lot of times a guy gets that first all star selection and fans kind of worry that it’s gonna go to a guy’s head. And in recent days I think you did a signing yesterday.
Konecny [00:06:21] Yeah.
Russ [00:06:22] I think you might have done one again recently, earlier in the season. And I don’t know if Anthony does, but I do at least get DMs from fans who say it’s really great to see a young guy who’s had a lot of success in the league still be engage-able and relatable in a sense. And that hasn’t always been the case. And especially here, that hasn’t always been the case. So how do you not let stuff get to your head?
Konecny [00:06:50] I don’t know. I mean, I think for me, I know I have a great opportunity to go to the All-Star Game this year, and I’m proud of being able to go there and thankful for everyone that’s helped me get there and whatnot. But, you know, at the same time, I look at it like, you know, Connor McDavid’s going to the All-Star Game. And he’s got almost 80 points already. So I know, like, you know, I’m at 40 points, which is, you know, I’m happy. It’s a great stepping stone. But I mean, I know that, you know, I still have to be humble. There’s a lot of great guys and great skill and great players that are out there that I still have a lotta work and a lot of time and effort to put and still to even be able to be mentioned in some of these names.
Anthony [00:07:36] It’s got to be interesting. I mean, you’re suddenly going to be teammates for a day or two days with some guys you have a real bittr rivalry with.
Konecny [00:07:43] That probably don’t like me, I know…
Anthony [00:07:46] Are you preparing for that?
Russ [00:07:47] Do you keep it up, by the way? Like, let’s keep going with that.
Konecny [00:07:50] I don’t know.
Russ [00:07:51] Do you keep the hatred there? You can’t break kayfabe. This is like pro wrestling. Like you can’t possibly, like, go up to somebody and say, like, “Hey, you know what? I actually respect your game.” You can’t do that.
Konecny [00:08:03] Well I know. I mean, I think it’s gonna I hope at the All-Star Game, I can get the opportunity to meet some of the guys so they know me a little off the ice because I do. I have a reputation on the ice, you know, run my mouth a lot and get under people’s skin. But I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes. I mean, we’ve joked a couple times after I got cross checked by Perron and St. Louis that if we play them in the All-Star Game, maybe I hit him or something, get back at him. But I mean, I’d never do that.
Russ [00:08:37] Since you brought up chirping, I have to ask, because it’s maybe the most quotable thing you’ve ever said, going after Malkin in the Stadium series game and calling him a “****ing nerd.” Where did that come?
[00:08:51] I don’t know. I mean, I feel like a lot of times I’ll hear a chirp and I’ll repeat it. Whether it came from Patty or Laughton or something. And they didn’t say it loud enough. So I’ll make sure that somebody hears it. I don’t know if that was the case. Yeah, but it’s kind of funny how that stuck around, because I was I was actually just with my family the other day getting a cheesesteak. That was my first time. I was down at Pat’s and Geno’s there. And some guy, like, I’m just getting my cheese steak and he drives by yelling, “Eat up, bud!” I was like “what?” And I clued in, that he was talking about the video. And it was like kind of random. But yeah, it stuck around for a while.
Russ [00:09:32] Who’s a low key chirper on the bench that doesn’t get credit for being a guy that we maybe think about as being a trash talker?
Konecny [00:09:40] I mean, I don’t know if you guys know about Laughton, but he’s constantly.
Anthony [00:09:44] Oh, yeah?
Konecny [00:09:44] Constantly.
Anthony [00:09:45] I know he’s intense.
Konecny [00:09:47] He’s intense, like he’s very engaged in the game. But yeah, if you were to ever just put a camera on him and his lips during a game, he’s constantly giving it to guys constantly.
Anthony [00:09:57] That’s fantastic. That’s great to know.
Russ [00:09:59] What’s a guy like Hayesy like? Because now I think people are starting to get a feel for him because of like the Mic’d Up kind of segments. But is he like that all the time or do you think he kind of ramps it up just for the mic?
Konecny [00:10:10] No he’s like. He’s probably worse off the mic. He’s probably toned down on on the mic.
Anthony [00:10:15] Really?
Konecny [00:10:15] Oh, yeah. His constant energy, outgoing. Oh, yeah. You need to be a good 10 hours sleep and a coffee before you talk to Hayesy cause he’s… he’s ready to go the moment he walks in the door.
Russ [00:10:31] How does he fit in on this this team? Because I know that in the off season when he got the “A”, a lot of people were questioning because he’s new to the locker room and it’s not the most normal thing to have that kind of thing happen. I think G said after a game a few weeks ago that it feels like… Hayes said he feels like he’s been on this team for years. Does it kind of feel like that from your perspective?
Konecny [00:10:53] Yeah, it does. I mean, from the moment we went over to Prague, he was. It did feel like he had been with us for a long time. And I mean, and my getting to know him was shorter than everyone else’s, too, because he was down here before camp and getting to know guys and golfing with guys and stuff. And I never had that chance to do that with him. And from the moment I met him, you know, it’s just it seemed like I had known him for a while and we were rekindling and getting to catch up. So it’s kind of cool how we can change a locker room like that.
Anthony [00:11:25] Now, I know you wanted to bring this up, Russ. So, I’m going to let you do it. This is your thing. Do the whole “Scrum Lurker” nonsense. Do you know “Scrum Lurkers”? Do ever watch TSN Jay and Dan?
Konecny [00:11:38] I mean, more or less back home.
Anthony [00:11:42] OK, so they have a bit that they do. Where it’s all quick little snapshots of media scrums in the locker room. And in these scrums, what they do instead of focusing on the player, they will find some goofy media guy hiding behind you trying to get a video.
Konecny [00:12:02] OK.
Anthony [00:12:04] Alright, so the most recent addition of “Scrum Lurkers”…
[00:12:07] I’ve gotta apologize to you in advance. I’m pulling it up right now, but…
Konecny [00:12:09] Am I in it?
Anthony [00:12:09] Not only are you in it…
Russ [00:12:14] Well, the only reason he was bringing up is narcissitic qualities.
Anthony [00:12:17] Standing behind you here. It’s really kind of pathetic.
Russ [00:12:20] I’m gonna show this to you. So I just. All right. So there you are. There’s Anthony. And that’s the video right there going on. You see that little there and that’s the money shot.
Konecny [00:12:38] [laughs].
Anthony [00:12:38] Right? It’s so ridiculous.
Konecny [00:12:40] That’s pretty funny!
Russ [00:12:41] When we’re setup around everybody like that. Well, you’ve got a couple of inches on me. But in fairness, I can’t reach over everybody else, like, Bill Meltzer who we love is ginormous. Right? So I’m usually behind everybody because it’s the path of least resistance. How aware are you? Let me ask you, I guess that first, how aware are you of being circled around versus having everybody in front of you?
Konecny [00:13:02] Yeah, it doesn’t feel like that, honestly. Like it feels like the mics that are here [in front] is kind of who you’re talking to, to be honest. But it is funny cause sometimes like a question will come from left field and you’re like, “Whoa who is this guy?” and someone’s standing right behind you with a mic. But it is pretty funny.
Anthony [00:13:22] My philosophy is this. Maybe you can you can tell me if I’m right or wrong. So my philosophy is, I don’t like scrums as media guy. I don’t like scrums because I don’t feel like you guys are really gonna say anything that’s of great value.
Anthony [00:13:35] Maybe Jake, every once in a while like he has no filter, but other than that, I mean, really, you guys are just gonna give this… The pretty much basic answer.
Konecny [00:13:42] Yeah.
Anthony [00:13:43] So my philosophy is if I get in the back as it’s ending, if there’s something that I feel that I want to ask, I could say, “Hey, Travis, you got an extra minute or two?” and pull you off to the side and then if we’re talking one on one, you’re more likely to give me a more in-depth response because the cameras aren’t on you guys. You feel a little bit more comfortable on a one on one conversation than 30 people might, correct?
Konecny [00:14:01] Yeah, that’s right. I agree.
Anthony [00:14:02] So there you go. So that’s why we end up on “Scrum Lurkers”.
Russ [00:14:04] So then you don’t have any reason to be like over the guy’s shoulder. I mean, I was going to ask him, like, what cologne you were wearing. Because I mean, good God.
Anthony [00:14:12] It was after a game!
Russ [00:14:18] So one question that we like to ask on this show is, is there anything and especially the West Coast swing, I’ve got to imagine that there aren’t that many things to entertain yourself with. Is there anything that stream? Is there any show or movies that you’ve seen recently that that captured your attention?
Konecny [00:14:35] Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. Me and I don’t know if everyone’s into this stuff. Me and my girl are like really into like documentaries about like murder cases.
Anthony [00:14:46] And I watch them all.
Konecny [00:14:47] And it’s like I feel like guilty watching them sometimes, because I like, I don’t want to, like have an interest in this stuff. But I find it…
Anthony [00:14:54] You’re not alone.
Russ [00:14:56] It’s fascinating.
Konecny [00:14:57] Yeah, it’s it’s crazy. I’ve watched so many and there’s been I heard Beezer are talking about the…
Anthony [00:15:03] Don’t F with Cats?
Konecny [00:15:04] Well, that one was was crazy. I actually was watching that in my hotel room in Carolina after we finished our long road swing there. And I got up and I put the latch on the hotel door thinking like, I don’t know anybody here who has a key like it could be anybody.
Anthony [00:15:20] Well, it probably had to bother you even a little more because it’s close to home, right?
Konecny [00:15:23] Well, anything was just like. Right. Yeah. So watching all this stuff… It’s just crazy to me. And there’s I mean, there’s other shows that I’m into as well. Like I’m into Power. I don’t know if you guys have seen Power. It’s a great TV series that a lot of the guys on the team are into it too. It’s a great show. But I mean, if there’s a new murder documentary or some sort. Yeah.
Russ [00:15:51] Did you watch the HBO special? It was the it was like based on the Serial podcast that Adnan Syed.
Anthony [00:15:56] Oh yeah I saw that one.
Konecny [00:15:58] I don’t know if I saw that. Is it on Netflix?
Russ [00:16:01] It was on HBO. It was based on the first season of the Serial podcast. It was really good.
Anthony [00:16:08] So I’m sure you’ve seen “Making a Murderer”?
Konecny [00:16:10] Yeah.
Anthony [00:16:12] You see “The Staircase”?
Konecny [00:16:14] Is that the lady that fell down the steps? Yeah. Saw that one. Ted Bundy. I’ve seen that.
Anthony [00:16:23] Yeah, that’s a good one. Did you watch the Aaron Hernandez one yet?
Konecny [00:16:26] Yeah, I watched that one. There was another good one I watched yesterday. It was called “The Confession Killer”.
Anthony [00:16:33] There’s a second season coming.
Konecny [00:16:36] Yeah. But yeah, the guy’s kind of all over the place so I’m trying to figure it out.
Anthony [00:16:41] I’ll give you one more that’s a couple years old now, but it’s still on Netflix called “The Keepers”.
Konecny [00:16:45] The Keepers?
Anthony [00:16:46] The Keepers. And it’s about the murder of a nun in Baltimore in the 60s and then how they investigate it 40 years later. It’s really, really intense. Good. Yeah, it’s a good one.
Konecny [00:16:56] Interesting.
Russ [00:16:57] All right. Away from morbid stuff, is there anything else that you watch? That’s, uh… There’s like there’s some parent who’s listening to this show.
Anthony [00:17:07] “You’re not allowed to be a Travis Konecny fan anymore!”.
Russ [00:17:09] “Oh, that Travis Konecny was a really nice guy, but, oh, he’s got a real dark sense of humor!”.
Konecny [00:17:15] Just ruined it for everybody. I think… I mean, if I’m going with something a little softer, like I’ve watched, like, This is Us.
Anthony [00:17:23] Oh, yeah. That’s a tear-jerker.
Konecny [00:17:24] I mean, I watch that from time to time. I mean, other than that, I don’t get into shows that much. I watch the typical stranger or what is it? Stranger Things. Those I’ve kind of watched, all of those.
Anthony [00:17:40] I’ve got to ask about a movie because we’ve asked every player that’s been on the show and Russ… Russ is an 0-for, because I’ve been right on every one.
Konecny [00:17:49] Okay.
Anthony [00:17:50] If you were stuck on an island, and you can only have one hockey movie for the rest of your life to watch. Which one are you watching?
Konecny [00:17:55] Hockey movie?
Russ [00:18:00] And it could also be that it’s just a movie that you enjoy watching. That’s very quotable.
Anthony [00:18:04] Stop it.
Konecny [00:18:06] So it has to be like a hockey movie? I don’t know. Maybe MVP.
Anthony [00:18:13] Wow.
Russ [00:18:14] That’s the first time anybody’s ever answered that.
Anthony [00:18:16] Different than either one of us! Actually, that’s not true. JVR said Miracle. Which was which was a good one. But like say Slap Shot.
Konecny [00:18:23] Okay. Yeah.
Russ [00:18:24] I say Goon.
Konecny [00:18:24] Goon’s a good one, too. Yeah.
Anthony [00:18:24] Whoa! See finally someone agreed with you that at least it’s good.
Russ [00:18:24] See? Someone said that it’s good!
Anthony [00:18:31] Beezer gave him a hard time. He’s like, “Dude, that’s not real.”.
Russ [00:18:34] That’s what everybody says. I’m not saying what’s the most realistic hockey movie? I’m saying…
Anthony [00:18:38] Yeah, but you’re asking people who play the game for a living what their favorite is of course they want something that’s more realistic. Right?
Konecny [00:18:44] I mean, mine’s not very realistic either. MVP’s not.
Anthony [00:18:49] You could’ve gone Mystery Alaska. Yeah, I could’ve. That’s a good one.
Russ [00:18:53] So since you also are ramping it up, there are a lot of people to thank, I’m sure along the way.
Konecny [00:19:01] Yeah.
Russ [00:19:01] And to that idea, have you had a favorite place that you’ve gotten to play that has a memory that sticks out because obviously this All-Star one is going to be a huge memory now. Is there a place -it doesn’t have to be at the NHL level- that you played over the course of your career that stands out for any reason?
Konecny [00:19:21] I mean, there’s probably a number of places. But for me, I think the most memorable one is just going back to where I played most of my minor hockey, where I grew up loving the game. And, you know, there’s a couple of rinks, but I played a lot of minor hockey in Komoka, which is a small little town where the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs are out of. So, yeah, a lot of good memories there. Grandparents, parents, friends.
Anthony [00:19:49] You were part of the craziest trade that I’ve ever seen.
Konecny [00:19:53] [Laughs] in the OHL?
Anthony [00:19:56] What was it like two players and 10 draft picks for you?
Konecny [00:19:59] Yeah. So what I think happened there was because I think I was supposed to come back the next year. Which was originally the plan. And then I ended up making the NHL. But when they made the trade it was because I was basically being traded for an extra season and then I didn’t come back.
Anthony [00:20:16] So not only did they trade away 10 picks, they didn’t get you back!
Konecny [00:20:20] They didn’t get me and I was injured in the playoffs. That was tough,.
Anthony [00:20:24] That’s brutal. That’s one of the craziest trades: 10 draft picks in one trade.
Russ [00:20:28] It’s gotta make you feel special.
Konecny [00:20:30] I mean, I didn’t know it was me and another guy on my team. It’s a good trade.
Russ [00:20:37] You’re very close to tying, I think, you’re seven points off. You’re at 42 right now -your career high is 49 at the NHL level- from tying that 49 point mark. What would you attribute such a boost in production to?
Konecny [00:20:57] That’s funny. I just had a conversation downstairs in our media scrum and they asked me that question. And I don’t know if it’s because of, you know, now I have a contract and I’m not stressing so much about trying to produce and, you know, trying to prove myself. Obviously, I’m still trying to do the best I can do every time I get on the ice. But, I can focus a little more on on parts of my game that don’t put me in bad situations. So the coach trusts me and that, you know, that leads to more opportunity they trust ya trying to tie the game up or trying to play with a lead. Things like that. And I think that’s kind of given me more opportunity this year. And then maybe I’m just capitalizing a little more on that opportunity.
Anthony [00:21:45] You seem more relaxed as somebody watching the game from the last three years.
Konecny [00:21:48] Yeah. Just more poise, I think, instead of throwing the puck away or making poor decisions, I’m… I have a little more confidence with the puck I think.
[00:21:58] That’s great. Travis, we really appreciate you taking the time. Thanks a lot for joining us here on Snow The Goalie. Best luck to you the rest of the way and hopefully we’ll talk to you again down the road.
Konecny [00:22:05] Yeah. Thanks, guys.