Flyers

No standings needed, Scott Gordon's perspective has Flyers seeing playoff hunt

No standings needed, Scott Gordon's perspective has Flyers seeing playoff hunt

The Flyers were in so deep, it appeared daunting, even impossible.

On the morning of Jan. 10, 43 games into the season, the Flyers were entombed in last place of the 31-team NHL standings at 15-22-6 with 36 points.

More than halfway through their schedule, no other team was in worse shape.

Seven days earlier, Wayne Simmonds said the team's struggles felt like "quicksand."

"We're trying to get out and it feels like it's just getting deeper," he said.

No way they dig out of this, right? Maybe the Flyers were trying to climb all at once. It's the pressure the Flyers probably felt, trying to win 10 games in a night or lasso five teams with just one toss of the rope.

Impossible.

But since Jan. 10, when they could sink no lower, the Flyers have won eight of nine games, a stretch that includes this current seven-game win streak.

Around the beginning of the streak, interim head coach Scott Gordon provided his team realistic perspective.

Here was his message:

The biggest thing right now for us is just to make sure we don't worry about the eighth-place seed, we don't worry about the team that is 10 points in front of us, we just worry about what's in front of us immediately. … Whether it's the 10th-place team, the ninth-place team, we just worry about that team. Try to get above them. 

There are like two or three teams that are lumped together, and we move above them, then we can worry about the next tier. And then if everything's going to plan and we're still doing what we're doing, then we can start worrying about the eighth seed. But right now, it's just what's in front of us.

The Flyers are ready to hunt, one team at a time. Gordon's outlook, which he mentioned following the Flyers' 5-4 OT win Saturday over the Oilers, is resonating.

"We know we're a good team," Simmonds said. "Obviously we didn't have the ideal first half of the season but you never know what can happen — you stick with it, keep chipping away. You think of the smaller picture: catch the next team in front of you and go from there."

Remarkably, the Flyers are within striking distance, starting to join a race they looked no part of less than a month ago. They are within seven points of the Blue Jackets, who hold the Eastern Conference's second wild-card position. Twenty days ago, the Flyers were 15 points out of that spot.

Since residing in the NHL basement, the Flyers have overstepped five teams in the wild-card picture.

They needed a streak. 

They also needed the right frame of mind to put one together.

The Flyers don't have a standings board up at their practice facility or at the Wells Fargo Center.

As Gordon walked away from the podium at his postgame press conference Saturday, he smiled and said, "The team in front of us is in first place."

Such a mindset has the Flyers focused, feeling like they're right there.

Thirty games remain and they believe in the chase.

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Toughest player he has faced? Joel Farabee has shown he's ready for his answers

Toughest player he has faced? Joel Farabee has shown he's ready for his answers

Joel Farabee was 5 years old when Sidney Crosby made his NHL debut.

One would understand if Farabee was nervous playing against the two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner and three-time Stanley Cup champion for the first time as a teenage rookie in the NHL.

But Farabee has more than held his own against some of the league's biggest stars, which says a lot about the Flyers' 2018 first-round pick who just turned 20 years old in February.

“Wow, there are a lot of good players in the NHL," Farabee said Monday on NBC Sports Philadelphia's Flyers Talk podcast when asked who was the toughest player he has faced in 2019-20. "Just playing against Sidney Crosby a few times was really cool, I think he had a few points in both the games that I played in. You could see him in warmups and stuff like that, how focused he is and he’s such a good player, he sees the ice so well.

“Another player I’d say is Nathan MacKinnon, how good he is, how fast of a skater he is. Those are two guys I definitely get excited playing against just because of how good they are. I enjoy being on the ice with them.”

When the Flyers beat the Penguins, 3-0, on Jan. 21, Farabee played on a line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek. That trio faced Crosby's line a bunch and No. 87 went scoreless as the Flyers shut out Pittsburgh.

The Flyers had no fear putting Farabee in such a situation. He also played on the same line Feb. 1, when the Flyers held MacKinnon to no points in a 6-3 win over the Avalanche.

In five combined games against the Penguins and Avalanche, Farabee has put up four points (two goals, two assists) — and his role grew with each matchup.

The path to his NHL dream prepared Farabee for those moments.

“Leaving to go to prep school at 14 I think it was, it was definitely totally different, I had never really lived away from home," Farabee said. "Being able to live away from home, play on a team really helped me out, it forced myself to rely on teammates. I think when I was really young, I was a really shy kid, didn’t really want to talk to people because I was so shy. Being away from home really taught me how to be an adult and how to grow up outside of hockey more or less playing hockey.”

And at 20 years old, Farabee is just getting started for the Flyers.

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Flyers Talk podcast: Joel Farabee joins the crew to talk all things Flyers

Flyers Talk podcast: Joel Farabee joins the crew to talk all things Flyers

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall are joined by special guest Joel Farabee.

From how Farabee is staying busy during the NHL hiatus to his bond with teammates, let's dive in:

1:30 — The Flyers' regular season would have finished by now

4:20 — Neutral site playoff games at smaller venues?

7:00 — More teams in the playoffs makes a lot of sense

13:35 — Farabee back home in upstate New York

15:00 — Cooking during the quarantine and life in the NHL

16:50 — Michael Raffl's haircut!

17:25 — Farabee "carrying" his teammates on Xbox

18:30 — Playing under a coach like Alain Vigneault

20:20 — Leaving home at 14 to pursue an NHL career

21:25 — Toughest players to compete against and the NHL adjustment

22:45 — Favorite road trip of the season

• 23:20 — Growing up a Philly sports fan

• 24:00 — Staying in shape during the stoppage

• 25:35 — Great to hear Flyers players in good spirits 

• 27:35 — An example of Emmer's Minnesota roots

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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