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Torts Wants More Out of Flyers’ Kevin Hayes; GM Challenges TK

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Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers
Kevin Hayes (left) and Travis Konecny were both issued challenges during the first week of camp. Photo: Zack Hill.

With or without Sean Couturier in the lineup, new Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella says he needs more out of Kevin Hayes.

Hayes missed almost half of last season with various injuries. He finished strong, ending his season with 22 points in the final 28 games. He was the team’s top point producer in that span.

Earlier this week, before the conversation drifted toward Hayes, Tortorella first talked about Couturier, a center who has re-injured his surgically repaired back. Couturier, who plays in all situations, was re-examined by a doctor Thursday, but the Flyers have yet to to give an update.

What would his absence mean to the Philadelphia Flyers?

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“I don’t know. I don’t know what the team is,” Tortorella said. “I don’t know who’s who, who’s going to play where. I mean, he’s an important guy, but I ‘m not even thinking that way. … To start assessing if he’s out, what happens, I can’t tell you because I don’t know what the team is going to be.

“There’s nothing given here, as far as where people are playing and who they’re playing with.”

Who’s No. 1?

Even if Couturier is healthy, Tortorella said, he and Hayes would contend for the Philadelphia Flyers’ No. 1 center spot.

Tortorella called Hays a “huge part” to the team’s development. “And in the conversations I’ve had with Kevin over the summer, I’ve told him that. He’s a huge part if we want to get to where we want to be. Not only for himself, but for him to tell so e of the  other guys, ‘Follow me and do some of the things I’m doing. As a veteran player, as Kevin is, that’s some of the progression that I’m looking for.”

The veteran coach said he has “watched him from afar … and you say, ‘there’s more there.’ And you say, ‘You know what, there’s more there. That’s what I’m looking for with Kevin. That’s been our main conversation.

“He’s a great guy. Great guy in the locker room. But I need to add some  more responsibility to him, and I hope he can handle it.”

Travis Konecny, coming off a season in which he had 16 goals and 52 points, also was challenged during the first week of training camp. Said General manager Chuck Fletcher: “Take a player like Travis Konecny. Are you a 50-point guy or are you a 70-point guy. Let’s push here a little bit. Let’s see what we have.”

Hayes and Konecny were not in the lineup for the preseason opener Saturday against Boston. They could play in the second preseason game, Tuesday in Buffalo.

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