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Coach Alain Vigneault Gambles by Scratching a Healthy Travis Konecny

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The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Islanders by a 3-2 score in overtime for their third straight win. At 6-2-1 on the season, the Flyers are a solid second in the Eastern Division behind the Washington Capitals and ahead of the Boston Bruins. Missing from the victory was Travis Konecny, who was a healthy scratch.

It was a shocking move by many which on paper, is very difficult to defend. But Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault made, from a purely game perspective, a terrible call by benching Konecny for Samuel Morin. Clearly Vigneault was sending a message to wake-up Konecny, who at first glance appears to be having a good season. After all, he has five goals and eight points in as many games.

However, looking more carefully as his season and you’ll notice that over the past three game, Konecny has been non-existent, with only one shot and one assist. That just won’t cut it, regardless of Konecny’s play in the past, which for the most part has been quite good.

The scratch seemed even more ridiculous when considering Sean Couturier has been out, and to single out Konecny appears a bit brutal. After all, the Flyers have struggled at full strength and quite frankly, haven’t looked like a team that is 6-2-1. Looking at the box scores and the Flyers have been out shot, which is a trend that cannot continue if they want to maintain a top record.

While the wake-up call for Konecny could work in the long run, it may also have a reverse impact. The possible disconnect between him and the coach is worth looking out for. The risk paid off, I suppose, in the first game with a victory. We’ll see if there is a turnaround in Konecny’s and the team’s overall performance. If so, Vigneault’s taking charge with the roll of a dice could pay major dividends down the road.

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