With two games postponed this week, the holiday break came early for the Flyers.
If the schedule stays put, Mike Yeo's club will have gone 10 days between games when it resumes play.
Where do the Flyers stand? Who will and won't be available come next week?
Here are five things to know with the Flyers at the holiday hiatus:
The COVID-19 situation
As of Tuesday, the Flyers had three players — Kevin Hayes, Morgan Frost and Max Willman — and two staff members in the NHL's COVID protocol.
The Flyers did not undergo COVID-19 testing Wednesday with the holiday break having officially started. The next time they can test will be Sunday, the day after Christmas.
According to the NHL's COVID protocol document from the start of this season, if a player tests as a confirmed positive but is asymptomatic, he will undergo daily lab-based RT-PCR tests. And if the player has two or more consecutive negative tests, he is eligible to exit his isolation and return as long as it adheres with local health laws.
If a player tests as a confirmed positive and is symptomatic, he must remain out for at least 10 days from when he originally felt symptoms, as well as at least 24 hours from his last fever.
Hayes was pulled at the start of practice Monday. If he tested as a confirmed positive and is symptomatic, he won't be eligible to return to practice. Come the Flyers' first game back next Wednesday in Seattle against the Kraken (10 p.m. ET/NBCSP), it will have been 10 days — if this past Monday is included — of Hayes being out.
Frost was removed during the first period of the Dec. 14 game and has remained out. He'll be eligible to return to practice when the Flyers are back in Voorhees, New Jersey. Willman entered COVID protocol last Friday and missed Saturday's game. He'll be eligible to return to practice at some point before the Flyers face the Kraken.
"I've only texted with all three and all three are doing fine," Yeo said Tuesday before the postponement of the Flyers' game against the Capitals. "Obviously now it's a matter of getting through the 10-day protocol.
"All three guys are doing well, but regardless of how you feel, there's certainly a timeline you have to follow and we'll do that."
As a team, the Flyers will hope for the best when they return for testing after Christmas.
The revised NHL-mandated holiday break is Wednesday through Saturday (Christmas Day). The Flyers then have three days before their first game back. The team's time away from the facility should be good in helping settle the Flyers' COVID-19 situation.
The matchup next Wednesday with Seattle is the opening matchup of a back-to-back road set. The Flyers visit the Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP) before the back half of their West Coast trip wraps up against the Kings on New Year's Day Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Ducks on Tuesday, Jan. 4 (10 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
With the NHL opting out of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, the league will utilize the stretch of Feb. 4-20 to reschedule some of the games that have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Flyers have three games to make up: two at home (Islanders, Capitals) and one on the road (Penguins). They already have games scheduled on Feb. 1, 23, 26 and 28. The Wells Fargo Center currently has nine days open without an event in February.
The Flyers have had a chaotic December. Amid a damaging losing streak, Alain Vigneault and Michel Therrien were fired less than a week into the month. The Flyers' skid reached 10 games in Yeo's first two games as interim head coach.
But Yeo has steadied the waters a bit. The Flyers are on a season-best five-game point streak (4-0-1), a stretch in which they've scored 4.20 goals per game and allowed 2.40.
The Flyers are 12-12-5 overall and 4-2-1 under Yeo. They still have a ways to go with a minus-18 goal differential, the NHL's second-most shots allowed per game (34.6) and the 25th-ranked goals per game figure (2.66). But Yeo has done an admirable job chipping away at the climb considering the circumstances.
"The results have been better, but we still have work to do in terms of getting to where we want to get to as a group," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Monday. "Certainly everybody's working hard at it. It's not something that's just going to change immediately; it's going to take time and work. We're putting both the time and the work into improving."
The Flyers got Joel Farabee back their last game, a 4-3 OT win Saturday over the Senators. The 21-year-old winger missed the previous seven games with a shoulder injury.
The club is hoping it'll see the return of Derick Brassard after the holiday break. The veteran center has missed 11 of the last 12 games because of a hip issue.
Brassard took part in Tuesday's morning skate and is considered day to day.
"We've got a bit of a long break here that I think there's an opportunity for — especially when you're dealing with what he's dealing with — a little bit of time off should really serve him well," Yeo said Tuesday. "We're hopeful to get him back, but to make a prediction right now, it's a ways out, it's hard to say."
Ryan Ellis has been able to take the ice in his recovery from a lower-body injury. His status still looks like a return around early January. The all-situation defenseman was the Flyers' prized offseason addition and is pivotal to the club's chances this season. He has played only four games thus far.
"Making progress," Fletcher said Monday. "It's still week to week, doing better. He's been skating a little bit, so that's progress. He's feeling better."
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship gets underway the day after Christmas on the NHL Network.
Desnoyers is the most must-watch player of the Flyers' three prospects, especially given he's on Team Canada. The Flyers are very high on the 2020 fifth-round pick.
The 19-year-old winger plays a pro-like game of puck protection and seeking the net.
"Just a real impressive kid, he's one of those kids you talk to, he’ll sit and talk hockey to you all day long," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in September. "He's down there, he's talking to the veteran guys, he's learning every day. His work ethic and determination are off the charts."
Here's the schedule for when you can watch the Flyers' three prospects.
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