Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault mentioned having some "moving parts" and "game-time decisions" after his team's morning skate Thursday.
"I can't really expand on that at this moment," Vigneault said regarding his lineup.
Now we know why.
Joel Farabee popped up on the NHL's COVID protocol list Thursday night and missed the Flyers' game against the Penguins. Vigneault said postgame Thursday that Farabee was on the ice at morning skate for a quick second before having to come right back off as the Flyers learned he was being placed on the COVID protocol list.
"My understanding is we followed the protocol, we’re fine and we’re going to practice tomorrow," Vigneault said after the Flyers' 4-3 come-from-behind win.
There are a number of contributing factors for why a player can be placed on the COVID protocol list. A player being out because of COVID protocol does not necessarily mean the player tested positive for the coronavirus.
Penguins star Sidney Crosby came off the COVID protocol list Thursday. He was out only two days, the first being Tuesday when Pittsburgh beat the Flyers, 5-2, without its captain. Farabee scored both of the Flyers' goals.
Farabee has blossomed in his sophomore season. The 21-year-old winger owns 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 19 games after recording eight goals and 21 points over 52 games as a rookie last season.
"I'm not going to tell you what my lines were originally this morning," Vigneault said. "Came here and all of a sudden we find out that Joel's on the COVID protocol. There's not one line that I had drawn up last night coming into this morning that was the same. It is what it is — you adjust, adapt and it's finding ways to win, and that's what we did tonight."
Nicolas Aube-Kubel entered the lineup for the Flyers in Farabee's place. Starting tonight, the Flyers are playing three games in four days. They had just returned to full strength Tuesday night following a difficult aftermath of a seven-day COVID-19 shutdown last month. They'll hope Farabee is OK and that his stint on the COVID protocol list is brief.
"He's been excellent," Travis Konecny said Tuesday. "It's good to see because coming into training camp, you always run into him in the gym, putting in his time, putting on some weight and doing extra stuff on the ice. It's no surprise to us that he's doing this well. He's just got a knack for being around the net and being in the right spots. He's one of those guys that makes players around him better, too, so he's definitely one of those guys that has stepped up a lot for us this year."
This story was updated at 11:40 p.m. ET.
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