Amid news of new COVID-19 protocols and new positive cases, Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo was “happy” to confirm forward Joel Farabee will be back in the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
COVID-19 has not hit the Flyers as hard as some teams around the league this season, but the team’s lineup was already injury-riddled. Saturday morning, the Flyers announced that Max Willman, who was a recent call-up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, joined Morgan Frost, another call-up, in COVID-19 protocols after testing positive Friday night.
Starting goalie Carter Hart will also be unavailable because he was not feeling well Saturday morning. While he hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19, he is sitting out to be safe.
But Farabee has been feeling really good, Yeo said, and will be returning to the lineup.
“I’m happy to answer a non-COVID-related question,” Yeo said. “Yes, Joel’s gonna be in the lineup here tonight. Obviously, good timing.”
Farabee has done so well in recent practices that Yeo said he’ll be on the top line, where he played before he was injured.
“We’re going to throw him right up there with Coots [Sean Couturier] and TK [Travis Konecny] here tonight and he has that ability to make plays and create offense for us, but also the way he thinks the game,” Yeo said prior to the game. “Plays without the puck. He’s obviously a guy that you feel comfortable going head-to-head against top players as well.”
Farabee played with Couturier and James van Riemsdyk on the top line in his previous game. He had moved up from the second line, where he played with Frost and Cam Atkinson, after scoring three points (two goals and one assist) in three games.
With all the injuries and COVID-19 cases, Yeo said any good news about players coming back from injuries is a “bright, bright light” for them. Farabee’s return has already infused “good energy” into the lineup, Couturier said.
“He’s worked hard to come back,” Couturier said. “And you know, we’re glad to have him back with us. He’s a big part of our team, and we need him.”
Who’s No. 3?
With Hart’s illness appearing Saturday morning, Yeo and general manager Chuck Fletcher did not have much time to make a decision about who they would call up for Saturday night’s game. Martin Jones will start, but he has no backup.
Yeo confirmed there will be a call-up, the question is who.
Felix Sandstrom did not dress Friday night for the Phantoms and was dealing with sinus issues the weekend before. Samuel Ersson played backup for the Phantoms on Friday. He was out since late October, and it was his first game back. Kirill Ustimenko was recently called up from the ECHL, and Pat Nagle, who started Friday, is on an AHL contract.
Derick Brassard (lower body) participated in morning skate but is not yet ready to play. Yeo said he’s “inching along,” and he had a good day Friday. ... The league officially adopted enhanced COVID-19 measures Saturday. Prevention measures include wearing masks at all times in indoor facilities and while traveling, no dining in public areas unless in a private room, social distancing while eating, virtual meetings or meetings in large, well-ventilated spaces and a ban on holiday parties and public activities. There will also be daily testing except on days off. For more details, click here.