Flyers

Joel Farabee, the newest piece to Flyers' future, is just like you

Joel Farabee, the newest piece to Flyers' future, is just like you

His favorite baseball player growing up was Chase Utley.

He tweeted #FlyEaglesFly on Feb. 4, and a few hours later, the Birds won their first Super Bowl.

He loves Wawa and Pat’s King of Steaks.

He has a summer house in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Joel Farabee is the most interesting man, not born in Philadelphia.

“I think there have already been a few people who have called me Joe-ELL,” Farabee said.

It is not “Joe-ELL,” it’s “Jo-ull.” Farabee will have to get used to it now that the Flyers drafted him with the 14th pick in last month’s NHL draft. There are now two prominent Joels in town.

The other Joel — and just this one instance — is Joel Embiid, an established superstar in the NBA and a national treasure on social media. Farabee has a ways to go to reach that level.

“He’s a great athlete,” Farabee said. “Two different sports, two different names.”

But that’s not how it goes in Philly. We’re famous for mispronouncing water. Farabee will have to deal with folks around here garbling his first name, at least until he creates his brand here. That is going to take time as Farabee has elected for the college hockey route and at 6-foot, 161 pounds, the Cicero, New York, native has his work carved out for him in the weight room.

Farabee departed Flyers development camp in Voorhees, New Jersey, two weeks ago to return home, pack his bags and head to Boston University for a summer Intro to Archaeology class. In the fall, he’ll join a prestigious Terriers program that’s historically churned out NHL players — Keith Tkachuk, Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy, Kevin Shattenkirk, Charlie Coyle, Clayton Keller.

The left winger originally committed to University of New Hampshire in December 2014 but de-committed after Scott Borek, who was an assistant at UNH, left for Providence College.

“When I committed there, I was 14,” Farabee said. “I remember when I got offered, I didn’t really know anything about college, so it was kind of a weird feeling. … Then [Borek] left, so I wanted to see some other schools. At the time I de-committed, I wasn’t 100 percent sure I was going to leave. I saw some other schools. I really just felt like BU was a great place to play.

“But I think, all in all, I don’t regret any decisions. I’m really excited to go to BU. The facilities there, the coaching staff is awesome. I’m just really excited to play there and be in Boston.”

Development camp was the first chance for Flyers fans to see Farabee and for people who stuck around from Day 1 to the conclusion with the 3-on-3 tournament, they saw a steady progression. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall insists the camp is not for talent evaluation, but it’s hockey in the summer, and it’s the first time many can get a glimpse at their prospects.

Farabee showcased his skating, skill and shot throughout the camp but dazzled during the 3-on-3 tournament. Leading up to the draft, Farabee was described to have an accurate shot with a shoot-first mentality, which was the type of prospect the Flyers certainly needed.

In the 3-on-3 tourney, Farabee put that ability on full display. There was one part of his game that Hextall highlighted afterward that the naked eye doesn’t necessarily see: deception.

“He disguises whether it’s a shot or a pass,” Hextall said. “He’s got really quick hands. A lot of guys will come down, the goalie knows where they’re going to shoot, so you see goalies make a save and go, ‘That was quick.’ It really wasn’t because they read the puck off the stick blade.

“The puck is really hard to react to. Joel hides things. If he’s going to shoot the puck, he’ll turn his hands real quick, bang and let it go. Or he’ll open up for a shot and he’ll pass the puck.

“A lot of top guys in the league, you wonder why they score or how that pass went through … they’re showing hands to the defenseman, to the goalie. Joel is one of those guys.”

The USA Hockey National Team Development Program had a pretty strong 2018 draft class with 16 players selected. The Flyers drafted two — Farabee and Gavin Hain (174th overall). Jay O’Brien, the Flyers’ second first-round pick, had a brief stint with the NTDP but wasn’t a regular.

Farabee played on a line with Oliver Wahlstrom, who was drafted by the Islanders with the 11th overall pick, and Jack Hughes, who's projected to go No. 1 overall in 2019, last season. During his age-17 season, he was with Wahlstrom and Jake Wise, who he’ll play with at BU.

“It was really good. They’re really elite players, they’re really fun to play with,” Farabee said. “They think the game really well. It makes the game a lot easier when you know where they’re going to be. I really loved playing with them. I get to play with Wise at BU next year and I’ll be playing against Wahlstrom at [Boston College], a little rivalry.”

Circling back on that February Sunday evening that forever changed Philadelphia sports, Farabee, Wise and Wahlstrom were back together again. This time, with their billet family.

The trio, along with Mattias Samuelsson, the son of Flyers director of player development Kjell Samuelsson, watched the Eagles beat the Patriots, 41-33. Wise and Wahlstrom are Pats fans.

“It was a fun rivalry,” Farabee said.

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What was most troubling about Flyers' 0-2-1 road trip?

What was most troubling about Flyers' 0-2-1 road trip?

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall.

The topic: What was the most troubling aspect of the Flyers' 0-2-1 road trip?

Emmer

How many other NHL teams had to deal with the crazy travel schedule for the first five games of the season like the Flyers? You guessed it — none. 

No other team in the league traveled across nine different time zones to start its season and I believe the most troubling aspect of the road trip was just that — adjusting to time zones. 

From traveling to Lausanne, Switzerland, for the final preseason game to the final game of the three-game Western Canada road trip, the Flyers had flown over 14,853 miles, played in four different time zones and spent parts of 19 of 21 days on the road since Sept. 27.

Now that is a long road trip.

I think it’s fair to say the extensive travel led to phases of fatigue for the team. Battling through that many time zones in a short amount of time, all while trying to physically give your best efforts on the ice, wears anyone down. 

With action returning to the Wells Fargo Center this weekend, there’s potential to hit the reset button and start fresh on home ice against Dallas. 

On a side note — I’ve heard Jakub Voracek is a very nervous flier and I hope he was comforted during these trips by his teammates. 

Hall

Everyone heard it in the opening of the NHL Network’s “Behind The Glass” series.

“I want to score f---ing hard,” Alain Vigneault said, “and hard to the net.”

The Flyers focused on developing a brand of size and smarts during the offseason and preseason. Look at the additions to the lineup and roster:

Kevin Hayes — 6-foot-5, 216 pounds
Justin Braun — 6-foot-2, 205 pounds
Matt Niskanen — 6-foot-1, 203 pounds
Tyler Pitlick — 6-foot-2, 200 pounds
Connor Bunnaman — 6-foot-3, 226 pounds
Carsen Twarynski — 6-foot-2, 206 pounds
Chris Stewart — 6-foot-2, 243 pounds

But what happens when size and smarts square off with top-end speed and skill?

Will they be enough to combat and control the better teams?

The Flames and Oilers won that battle against the Flyers in the final two games of the road trip, outscoring the orange and black by a combined 9-4.

The Flyers have a new identity and system — the product can work.

However, it did not meet two early challenges. In the aftermath, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to see a whole lot more before believing this season will be different.

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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Connor McDavid gives Flyers a nightmare finish to 0-2-1 road trip

Connor McDavid gives Flyers a nightmare finish to 0-2-1 road trip

BOX SCORE

Connor McDavid and company laced up the burners and blew past the Flyers on Wednesday night at Rogers Place.

The Flyers lost to the Oilers, 6-3, to finish their three-game road trip 0-2-1.

McDavid put on a five-point show to send the Flyers back home 2-2-1 overall. Alain Vigneault's team will look to find good vibes at home after traveling to Boston, New York, Lausanne, Switzerland, Prague, Czech Republic, Philadelphia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta and Edmonton, Alberta, over a span of 24 days (including the final three preseason games).

The Flyers actually had 52 shots to Edmonton's 22. You would have never guessed it.

The Oilers are 6-1-0 and scoring ... a lot.

• If you blinked, you missed McDavid and the Oilers flipping the game upside down. Trailing, 2-1, to start the middle stanza, the Flyers were actually all over Edmonton, putting six of the period's first seven shots on goal. The Flyers had a number of chances to score an early equalizer — maybe the game takes a different turn if they do.

Alas, they did not and McDavid then decided to pounce. The 22-year-old superstar went off for a goal and two assists in fewer than four minutes. Just like that, the Flyers were in a 5-1 hole.

McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and James Neal entered with a combined 16 goals in their team's six games — more goals than six NHL teams had in the same number of games or more.

The trio did further damage against the Flyers as McDavid finished with a goal and four assists, Draisaitl two goals and an assist, and Neal an assist.

• Carter Hart had a homecoming to forget. The 21-year-old from right outside of Edmonton (Sherwood Park) allowed four goals on 14 shots. The first two were more than stoppable, the third was McDavid being the best player in the world and the fourth was a power play tally.

Hart was not good and yanked in the second period. Prior to the outing, he had stopped 75 of 80 shots faced in his first three games.

• The first 10 minutes of a game are imperative to any road team in the NHL. The Flyers fell behind early in all three games of the Western Canada swing.

Against the Canucks, they trailed 5:01 into the game. Against the Flames, 1:35 into game. And against the Oilers, 1:13 into game.

The Flyers were one of the NHL's worst first-period teams in 2018-19 with a minus-31 goal differential during the opening stanza. Through five games this season, the Flyers have been outscored 5-2 in the first period. Vigneault needs more early offense to kick his system into gear.

• After going scoreless in the Flyers' first four games, his longest drought to start a season, Jakub Voracek got on the board with a first-period power play goal. He added another man advantage goal and an assist when the game was out of reach late in the third.

The 30-year-old is a player who fuels on confidence as one goal or play can lead to points in bunches. Voracek had 12 multi-point games last season and the Flyers were 9-2-1 in those contests.

They need him to bring this mojo home.

Also, remember when it was a 1-1 game at this point?

• Travis Konecny went scoreless for the first time this season. James van Riemsdyk has 15 shots on net over the past two games but no points to show for it.

• The Flyers are back at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday to play the Stars (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). A loud start in front of the home fans would do wonders for their confidence.

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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