Last season, it was Brayden Schenn who received the one-game “send a message” scratching from head coach Dave Hakstol. This year, both Michael Raffl and Shayne Gostisbehere have gotten the same treatment as well.
We can now add Travis Konecny to the ever-growing list.
After the morning skate in San Jose today, Hakstol announced to the assembled media that Konecny would sit for tonight’s game against the Sharks.
Hakstol said Konecny needs to sit and watch a game and improve on both sides of the puck— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) December 30, 2016
Gudas day to day. TK benched. Hak calls it a learning experience for him.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) December 30, 2016
Konecny has not scored a goal in 22 games, but is coming off a performance against the Blues on Wednesday that saw him contribute two primary assists to the cause. And despite the 22-game goalless drought, Konecny has posted a +0.58% score-adjusted Corsi relative to his teammates during that timespan, hinting that he hasn’t been a major liability at 5-on-5.
Hakstol’s history of going to this well on numerous occasions speaks to his belief that a one-game scratching is a useful motivational tactic. It’s fair to wonder, however, if it truly has a positive impact on the players, or if any such impact might be neutered due to overuse of the tactic.
In the end, removing Travis Konecny from the lineup is a move that hurts the Flyers in the here-and-now. He’s been the team’s most efficient scorer at 5-on-5 (1.90 Points/60) and brings an element of speed on the wing that the team has sorely lacked in recent years. They’ll miss him tonight against a very good Sharks squad. As a result, fans can only hope that the scratching proves to be beneficial to Konecny over the long-term in aiding his development as an NHL player.