Alain Vigneault has a pleasant, but intriguing problem on his hands. With Joel Farabee cleared to return to the lineup, where does he stick the rookie?
The Flyers have won two in a row since that sloppy loss to the Devils, so maybe the coach puts Farabee back on the bench as a healthy scratch. Tuesday’s game against the Islanders could vault the Flyers out of the wild card and into third place in the division, so every decision matters.
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At first, Farabee thought he had food poisoning. But it was more of a stomach bug, he explained. “They didn’t really put a name on it,” he said. Let’s just call it intestinal distress and leave the details for another day.
After consecutive days of rigorous skating, Farabee is set to rejoin the Flyers lineup. He’s suffered significant weight loss, missed three games, and endured numerous tasteless jokes about his ailment.
“It’s been a tough few days, but I’m feeling good now,” Farabee said Monday morning. “Obviously, you’re not going to change the lineup after beating Washington, so I’ll just rest up and be ready to go when they need me.”
Vigneault could have changed the lineup for Monday night’s game against the Florida Panthers, but said he wanted to give Farabee an extra day to recover, so he didn’t play him. Now what?
Farabee had been playing on a line with Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek, but Claude Giroux is in that spot on the top line now.
If it were up to me, I’d take Morgan Frost out and move Scott Laughton to center between James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Pitlick. Farabee could slide alongside Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny. Frost played well Monday night, but I’d put Farabee in despite the risk of upsetting the chemistry.
The caveat here is that all 13 forwards are healthy. Konecny gave life and limb in the win over Florida, so if he’s not up for the second half of this back-to-back, giving him the night off wouldn’t be the worst idea.
We’ll find out late Tuesday afternoon, or maybe even not until game time.
Farabee said he’d lost nearly 10 pounds, but gained nearly half of it back.
“I’m not really someone who can afford to lose 10 pounds,” he cracked. "Just drinking a lot of water, trying to eat as much as I can. "
Pretty funny exchange involving Konecny after Saturday’s 7-2 hammering of the Capitals.
The visiting locker room at Capital One Arena in D.C. was tight as players, Flyers’ equipment staff and media people all scrambled to meet deadlines and train schedules. What’s in your wallet?, the commercials always ask. Hopefully, some money for a bigger locker room. But that’s a story for another day.
Anyway, Matt Niskanen and a scrum of reporters were discussing the game when the locker room’s speakers suddenly turned on and blasted the replay of Jim Jackson’s enthusiastic call of Konecny’s goal from the earlier in the night. “GIROUX IN FRONT TO KONECNY! HE SCORRRREEESSS!”
Players excitedly cheered and Kevin Hayes immediately quipped, “Effin’ right, TK!” To which Konecny replied, “Sorry about that, boys. That was my phone. I just changed the ring tone.”
Tonight: at New York Islanders, 7 p.m. (NBCSP). The game’s in Brooklyn. The Islanders also played Monday, beating the Capitals in Washington.
Thursday: at Florida, 7 p.m. (NBCSP). The Panthers will play in New Jersey on Tuesday, so Thursday’s game also will be their third in four nights.
Saturday: at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m. (NBCSP). The Lightning have won seven in a row and will play at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Steven Stamkos (59 points in 52 games) did not play Monday because of a lower-body injury.
Tuesday, Feb. 18: vs. Columbus, 7 p.m. (NBCSP). The Flyers have beaten the Blue Jackets twice this season.
Thursday, Feb. 20: at Columbus, 7 p.m. (NBCSP). Columbus leads the Flyers by one point in the East’s wild-card race.
Saturday, Feb. 22: vs. Winnipeg, 1 p.m. (NBCSP). The Jets have won three in a row to climb back into the playoff chase in the West.
Monday, Feb. 24: Trade deadline, 3 p.m.
A day after Claude Giroux collected his 800th career point Saturday, Jonathan Toews did the same for Chicago. Here’s a quick comparison:
Question: Do you see Ghost being used as trade bait? Or do you keep him as the seventh D-man? I’d love to see him play every day, but (for) some reason he’s been in the doghouse. — @MikeWysocki8189 via Twitter
Answer: If part of the reason he was in the lineup last week against the Devils was to showcase him, the Flyers now have a problem. Gostisbehere looked rusty, which was to be expected, but he also showed up Monday complaining of knee pain and stiffness and did not skate.
Everybody wants defensemen, especially ones signed for three more years, but his value is low at this moment. Gostisbehere will turn 27 in April. In my opinion, the Flyers would make a tough situation worse by trading him just for a rental forward.