Did Wilson deserve suspension? Panaccio says yes

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Did Wilson deserve suspension? Panaccio says yes

I felt Tom Wilson deserved a suspension for his reckless hit on Brayden Schenn. My colleague John Boruk disagrees (see story).

I felt he was like a missile coming in on Schenn from the blue line.

I am convinced Wilson had no intention of trying to get the puck. He wanted Schenn.

If Schenn’s neck had been at a different angle when he went head first into the back boards, he could have suffered a spinal injury.

At some point, that is going to happen, and only then will the NHL devise a constant standard for checking a vulnerable player into the boards.

My point in “Dropping the Gloves” is intent. Wilson intended to destroy Schenn.

NHL Lord of Discipline Brendan Shanahan talked about "intent" in his explanation, but said Wilson’s intent was to hit Schenn and not injure him (see video).

Sherriff Shanny also blamed Schenn for turning into the hit and placing himself in harm’s way.

One thing we have seen consistently from the NHL is there is no consistent standard to what deserves a suspension and what doesn’t. In most cases -- not all -- if the targeted player was severely injured or concussed, the “attacking” player got a suspension.

Schenn was basically unharmed and played Thursday night against Columbus. The league’s Department of Player Safety knew that before it handed down its decision on Wilson.

And I believe that impacted on the decision not to suspend Wilson.

Here’s your comments off Twitter:

Sam Zonshayn @SZonshayn:
There is nothing wrong with skating fast to hit somebody.

-- As Bob Clarke said waaay back in the late 1990s on today’s game: “I was always taught the idea was to get the puck. Separate the man from the puck and get the puck. Now all these guys want to do is hit each other. It’s not about the puck. It’s about the hitting.” What Clarkie said then remains true to this very day even with a different generation of NHLer.

Mike E @mjeike35:
With how dazed schenn was after hit, I cannot believe he was not concussed.

Mike @lhgolfer2000:
Just think if Kaleta delivered that hit. The league would be up in arms.

-- Indeed, Wilson was not a repeat offender, no history to speak of.

Cam Cole @rcamcole:
Big problem with punishing according to injury, not the act: NHL is encouraging victims to fake or play up severity. Getzlaf, Schenn didn't. 

-- It should not take an injury to lead to a suspension. At some point, some day, a player will suffer a permanent spinal injury and only then will we see a change in the league and the player’s association. Both share the blame for now.

Crawford Mackenzie @CrawfordMackenz:
A classic example of watching the play in person vs. the video. In the arena, very clear Wilson made decision to hit earlier.

-- It looked horrific live and in person.

Thom Dennis @THOMPUCKS:
If SCHENN had done that to WILSON he'd get susp/fine. #NHLDBLSTANDARD

-- Actually, if it had been Zac Rinaldo … 10 games.

Robert Caplette @TattooedEnigma:
If they aren't willing to punish an illegal hit with no major injury, they aren't truly trying to rid the game of those hits.

-- No harm, no foul. That’s the simple way to view it, unfortunately.

Darren Kipfer @mvp099:
No way to know, but I felt and said yesterday that it was not a suspendable hit. Saw him coming and turned. Albeit a brutal hit

-- I still felt the intent was there to punish Schenn or whoever had the puck.

Ryan @LeafsHayward:
Flyers are still on the Lindros concussion protocol?

-- Like many fans I was stunned to hear the Flyers’ doctors did not order a concussion test regardless given that Schenn fell to the ice three times and was wobbly. To me, that spells possible concussion. That Schenn later admitted he could not remember full details of what transpired would indicate memory loss, which is attributable to a concussion. And I’m not a neurologist.

Travis Konecny leaves impression with vets in Flyers' preseason win

Travis Konecny leaves impression with vets in Flyers' preseason win

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Michael Raffl had just finished playing alongside Travis Konecny, the 19-year-old kid that has Flyers fans abuzz about the now and future.

Yet for Raffl, he wasn’t thinking forward. Instead, he was looking back.

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t do that when I was 19, that’s for sure,” the 27-year-old said smiling, eyes wide open. “No, it’s impressive, he’s a really, really good hockey player.”

Konecny had that resounding affect Wednesday night at the PPL Center, recording a goal and an assist while leading the Flyers to a 2-0 preseason win over the Devils (see 10 observations).

He dazzled with speed and shiftiness.

He showed off vision and smarts.

When he touched the puck, he had everyone’s attention.

Paired with Raffl and Brayden Schenn in a game featuring mostly prospects, the 2015 first-round pick made the molding of Ron Hextall’s roster that much more difficult. With the general manager looking on, the highly touted winger started fast before making his imprint during a span of just four minutes and 34 seconds in the second period.

First, he redirected a blast by Andrew MacDonald to hand the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Not long after, the 5-foot-10, 184-pounder deceived the defense to find Raffl right in front off a backdoor pass for a 2-0 advantage.

“We had a cycle play going and he had a nice fake up top there and I was just going to the net,” Raffl said. “Somehow I was all by myself and he saw me, put a perfect pass on my tape and I just went around the goalie and put it in.”

Following his first goal, Konecny nearly tacked on another less than a minute later when he appeared to hit the crossbar on a shot. He also flirted with a few more assists.

“I think I just played relaxed,” Konecny said. “I came into the game tonight trying not to do too much and just keep things simple. The main thing for me was getting pucks out of the zone, so I think I did that well tonight and hopefully I can keep building on it.”

Relieving pucks from the zone isn’t a real problem when you possess the speed and skill of Konecny, who racked up 101 points last season at the junior level.

At just 19, that’s where he’ll have to return if he doesn’t crack the Flyers’ roster.

With cuts already made and more coming, that sometimes is on Konecny’s mind.

“It weighs on you a little bit. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it and it’s definitely the time I need to step up and make sure I’m playing good hockey,” Konecny said. “And just earning another day — that’s just the way I’m looking at it. Every day I wake up and just work hard and move forward from there.

“I think everyone comes into camp and tries to give them (management) a reason not to send you back and make it hard on them.”

Wednesday night didn’t hurt his chances.

“He played a good hockey game,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Had an impact offensively. He did a pretty good job. There’s some youthful mistakes in there, but overall, he had a real good night tonight playing with Raf and Schenner.”

Placing Konecny with two capable NHL forwards offered the Canadian an opportunity to prove what he could do if he was in fact on the big club.

“We played well together,” Konecny said. “I think from the start we just had a lot of communication, we talked in the room, in warmups, we all knew what we were going to do throughout the game and in certain scenarios.”

If anything, Konecny left an impression on Raffl.

“He’s a very smart player,” Raffl said. “Once he has the puck, he makes smart decisions with it. It was very easy to play with him out there. He plays a mature game and I really enjoyed it.”

Time will tell if more enjoyment is in store come Oct. 14.

Loose pucks
Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon combined for the shutout. Stolarz started and made 11 saves over 29:23, while Lyon played 30:37 and stopped seven shots. “I like both of our guys tonight,” Hakstol said. “Stolie did a good job, he made a difference in this game in the first 10 minutes, those two or three really good saves there. Then Alex came in halfway through, which isn’t an easy thing to do and was ready to go and did his job.” … Schenn, MacDonald and defensive prospect Robert Hagg finished with an assist apiece. … With the roster currently standing at 49, the Flyers expect to make 15 cuts on Thursday. … Defenseman Nick Schultz is out four to seven days with a lower-body injury suffered in Tuesday night’s preseason game. ... The Flyers are off Thursday before likely practicing Friday ahead of Saturday's preseason game at 7 p.m. against the Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center.

10 Flyers-Devils observations: Travis Konecny impresses

10 Flyers-Devils observations: Travis Konecny impresses

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — The Flyers on Wednesday night took to the PPL Center — home of the AHL affiliate Phantoms — to give fans an early glimpse of the organization’s young talent, much of which will play on a nightly basis in Lehigh Valley.

One player that may reach Philadelphia before he ever lands in Lehigh Valley did not disappoint as the evening’s main attraction.

In his quest to make the Flyers’ roster at 19 years old, heralded prospect Travis Konecny scored a goal and tallied an assist to lead the orange and black past the Devils, 2-0, in their fourth preseason game, improving to 2-2.

Let’s dive into the action with 10 observations from the game:

1. We start with who else? Konecny. Head coach Dave Hakstol paired the talented winger with Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl, two of the few NHLers to suit up Wednesday. Konecny jumped all over the opportunity, deflecting an Andrew MacDonald shot for a goal 4:30 into the second period. Just shy of five minutes after, he delivered a pretty touch pass to Raffl in front for a 2-0 lead. Konecny just narrowly missed adding another goal and assist, as well, later in the stanza. You know when he’s on the ice because you’ll see bursts of unmatched speed. 

The 5-foot-10, 184-pounder is incredibly shifty with the puck and adept at avoiding contact. At times, he’ll get pushed around when a bigger body squares him up, but he makes up for it with his elusiveness. The 2015 first-round pick sure played the part of an NHL player ready to contribute to a team in need of playmaking.

2. Samuel Morin is a big boy. The 6-foot-7 defenseman really utilizes his tall frame and upper-body strength when battling along the boards. Obviously he needs to work on his skating and puck handling, but he has the size and makeup to compete.

3. Goalies Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon will duke it out for playing time in Lehigh Valley. It’s an impressive tandem. Both combined for the shutout. Stolarz, 6-foot-6, made eight saves in the opening period and 11 total over 29:23. He showed good quickness and instincts. Lyon, not so big at 6-foot-1, is sound and holds records for his time at Yale. He converted seven saves. It’s a duo worth keeping tabs on throughout the season.

4. Forward Colin McDonald will be a nice safety net for the Flyers if they ever need a body willing to bring nothing but physicality. He made loud, impactful hits and had a fight — albeit a short and weak one — early in the first period.

5. Defenseman Mark Alt lost a fight quickly in the second period. He may have lost his balance, but he went down hard. Alt appeared fine when he got up. However, he never returned to the game.

6. The Flyers killed two power plays on the night. The PK continued to show more aggressiveness and disruptiveness on the puck carrier, which wasn’t always the case last season. It’s a big reason the Flyers fell in such a big hole against the Capitals during the playoffs. So far this preseason, the Flyers are 16 for 17 on the penalty kill.

7. Along with Schenn, Raffl and MacDonald, other Flyers to play were Boyd Gordon and Chris VandeVelde, who handled themselves well, as expected. Defensive prospect Robert Hagg had an assist, as did Schenn and MacDonald.

8. Keith Kinkaid was in net for the Devils. He’s expected to be New Jersey’s backup netminder. The 27-year-old is 15-14-5 in his career with a 2.71 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Not crazy stuff, but still a goalie with NHL experience. However …

9. The Devils visit the Rangers Thursday night, so they too deployed a fair share of prospects, resulting in Kinkaid without a ton of help.

10. The PPL Center is a beautiful venue and should be a hot-spot for Flyers fans throughout the 2016-17 season. The trip is doable, parking is accessible and cheap and the arena doesn’t sport a bad seat. The Phantoms should be fun with added experience and talent.