Keith Jones was on the WIP morning show Thursday:

“We made sure to tell every player on the team that that is BS.”

There’s a lot more to the interview, portions of which are tongue-in-cheek and relaxed, and it’s worth listening to for more context.

But here’s the real question:

Does any of this actually matter? Do you think that telling Travis Konecny one thing or the other changes the way he’s approaching the game? He’s gonna play hard and  score goals and call Malkin a “fuckin’ nerd” whether Keith Jones says they’re rebuilding or not.

And nobody is stupid, or at least we hope not. Everybody knows that this team isn’t there just yet. They’re on the right path, but have a ways to go. The front office knows it, the coach knows it, and some of the fans know it, though a portion will be naturally and overly optimistic. The players certainly know it. They don’t need to be given some higher-level directive from the President of Hockey Operations.

So why say anything at all?

It’s really a larger level messaging thing. An optics thing. It works well with the “New Era of Orange” re-brand. Last year they told everyone it was an “aggressive retool,” which didn’t really land. So you wipe the Chuck Fletcher slate clean and use the word “rebuilding” and it works as an admission of sorts that they’re flipping the page and starting anew, with a new regime. The messaging made a lot of people feel better, so it made sense to do it. It doesn’t really matter what the players were told behind the scenes, because they’re not gonna dog it anyway. They’re playing to win, or earn that next contract. I don’t get the sense that anybody is dogging it this year, especially not for John Tortorella.

Here’s Anthony’s take on the matter:

Maybe writing for Crossing Broad the whole “two things can be true” mantra just rubs off on you, but if there was ever a situation where that was the case, it’s this one.

First of all, any team in sports worth its salt will have their executives and coaches speaking a little differently in the locker rooms and clubhouses than they speak to the public. That’s because there is way too much noise in the public sphere and the goal is to block all that out and focus one one singular message in the sanctity of that locker room.

So, no Jonesy was not gaslighting the fans. Nor was he lying to his players.

The reality is, the Flyers are in the midst of a rebuild. They just so happen to be in a playoff position entering March and the organization wants the players on this team to go for it. Plain and simple.

Yes, two things can be true.

And this isn’t just speculation. Know why? I asked Jonesy directly. And he confirmed that the messages can coexist in the same realm and not need to result in the Twitter meltdowns that ensued since Jonesy hit the airwaves Thursday morning.

Jonesy confirmed to me directly that the message to the players is to ignore what it said publicly. That as employees of the Philadelphia Flyers their job is to work as hard as possible every day to compete as hard as they can and to believe in what the organization is doing and to contend for a playoff berth and see what happens from there.

It’s building a winning culture. It’s showing players there is no acceptance of losing. It’s the groundwork that needs to be laid to eventually get where you want to go.

As for the rebuild, it’s still happening. That part hasn’t changed because the team has been competitive. The Flyers remain steadfast that they are going to accrue assets for the future at the trade deadline, and they are not deviating from that plan.

But you can do both AND still try to win games at the same time. Crazy concept, I know.

Look, WIP did Jonesy no favors by putting out their tweet of his quote without context. But, that’s the nature of things these days. Everything’s reactionary, to hell with nuance. And to hell with the responsibility of ensuring the proper context either. Let’s just get everyone to talk about us. Standing ovations. A.J. Brown. Jonesy the gaslighter. What an unholy trinity.

Enough with that. You can be entertaining without being incendiary. But why bother, amirite?

Point is, Jonesy said nothing wrong here. In fact, his transparency ought to be applauded. Instead, some of you overreacted dramatically – led by the Pied Piper of hot take dramatics.