All eyes will be on Travis Konecny tonight when the Flyers take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After taking a shot off his foot that limited him for some of the game against Montreal Tuesday, and completely missing practice Wednesday, fans will hold their collective breath to see if:
- Konecny actually plays tonight (he is probable).
- There are any noticeable effects of the injury.
- He doesn’t hurt himself more.
After all, Konecny is the poster boy for the Flyers sustained success the past two months. As he’s blossomed as a scorer, so too has the team figured out how to have the best record in the sport for the past 25 games.
And although the Flyers have been relatively healthy this year, losing both goalies and Wayne Simmonds to injury within a week is starting to have some people worry that this current nine-game point streak and rocket trip up the standings can come crashing down quickly, especially if another important player – like Konecny – were to miss significant time.
I talked to one long-time NHL scout at a game a few weeks back and asked him about Konecny. He had nothing but high praise for the Flyers forward – and this was before he started to break out.
“Give him the opportunity to play with better players and play consistently and the Flyers will have a faster version of Danny Briere,” the scout said.
Heck, the Flyers would be happy if he simply was as productive as Briere, never mind being faster, and potentially better.
But that is high praise – comparing him to one of the most beloved Flyers of the past 30 years.
Can anyone argue that Briere isn’t on the top 10 list of fan-favorite Flyers of those three decades?
Briere was so well-liked because not only did he produce for the fans, he gave them everything he had both on the ice and off it. He was as open, honest and forthright about everything as he was a pesky chigger around the net for the opposition.
And now, Briere is starting to make his way in the business side of hockey, while also still doing anything he can to connect with his fans – starting with French-Canadian youth and eventually reaching the fans in Philadelphia as well.
If things go according to plan, it seems like Briere is going to be a part of the Flyers family for a long time to come – and maybe even one day have some involvement at the NHL level.
But that’s still a ways off.
I talked to Briere recently about his new role running an ECHL franchise for Comcast-Spectacor, how it came about, what his future holds, and about his autobiography. I bet you didn’t know he wrote a book.
So, here’s my story on Briere (this is also running on another local website called Flying Fish Hockey, where I wrote it as a guest column).