Travis Konecny is having a career year with a new high in goals, 27, and is on an 85-point pace. Though through his breakout campaign, his feistiness has been a problem this year. He’s been called Brad Marchand lite due to his pesky ways on the ice with some scoring touch. This year, Konecny has stepped up his pest, nearly rat, role. Twice this season, Konecny has gone after a star player after they scored an empty net goal.
Ovechkin is an all-time great and within double digits of the all-time goals record. To get into double digits, Ovechkin scored two empty net goals when the Capitals traveled to Philly for their December 22nd game. The first one came without a problem, but the second one sparked something. Ovechkin came in all alone and slid the puck into the net. He did go from forehand to backhand before sliding it in, but he didn’t celebrate the goal and was just going back to the Washington bench when Konecny confronted him and seemed to say “What was that” before shoving Ovechkin. After the game, Konecny said he got upset because he felt Ovechkin deked before scoring. You can be the judge for yourself whether or not this was really a deke to get angry about.
The second instance of this happening was on February 18. The Flyers made their way to Vancouver for a matchup between two bottom-ten teams. Pettersson would also get two empty-net goals, both while on the penalty kill. It was, again, after the second one was scored that Travis Konecny delivered a cheap shot against Pettersson. Pettersson just shot the puck into the net, no flare, nothing, and as he’s looking toward that end of the ice with the empty net, Konecny blindsides him. Pettersson was alright but seemed to have the wind knocked out of him.
Konecny has been a bit of a pest, but most of that was jawing at opponents, but now he’s seeming to start throwing some cheap hits for no good reason. Sure, these cheap shots aren’t anything devastating, but they are against some of the league’s top stars, so that makes it more noticeable to the league. If something like this gets someone injured, the league has two instances of previous activity like that and would be more likely to suspend him than just fine him. Konecny may have found his footing this season, like I said before, recording career highs in points per game and goals, but how much does that help if he starts to get chippier and that leads to suspensions. When you look at Brad Marchand, he played a dirty game at the start of his career, and still plays a somewhat controversial game now, but as he started to become more of an important part of the team, his style of play mellowed out and he’s not doing all the dirty plays that we saw early in his career as much as he used to. Travis Konecny needs to get this under control because he just looks like a sore loser and judging by hitting Pettersson when he’s not looking, he could injure someone and that would definitely lead to a suspension.
By Noah Caplan (@Phlyers24)
Photo creds: NHL.com