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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Flyers weren't kidding themselves about the process

Flyers weren't kidding themselves about the process

Maybe Alain Vigneault wanted to make a point.

That it’s not all about goals.

Philly is a results city and, ultimately, the NHL is a results business. But Vigneault firmly believes in the process behind the results. He will see past the goal tallies bolded in the box score — if the process is being grown and done right.

The Flyers’ head coach constantly refers to the process. It’s what matters most when he attempts to build a contender, especially in Year 1 with a new team.

The process, one would think, looked pretty good Monday night … right? 

Especially during a four-goal second period in which the Flyers blew open an eventual 6-2 win over the Golden Knights (see observations). After all, the Flyers had scored only four goals over their past two games, both lopsided losses.

But Vigneault had other thoughts. He wasn’t about to forget the meaning of the process. He could have easily said the goals came because the Flyers stuck to it.

He didn’t go there.

“We had some puck luck in the second, found a way to score four and got outstanding goaltending,” Vigneault said. “In my mind, that could have been our least effective period in the last eight. But we found a way to win that period, 4-0. Sometimes it works out that way.”

Found a way to score four goals? A least-effective period of four goals?

The Flyers were outshot by Vegas in the middle stanza, 18-13. Brian Elliott came up with monstrous saves as the Flyers permitted some Grade A chances to a dangerous Western Conference team. After the past two losses, the Flyers had mentioned that they expected to be on the positive end of fortunate wins, too — as in that’s hockey, teams can get outplayed and still come away with victories.

The Flyers scored only one goal in the first period Monday but outshot the Golden Knights, 15-7, and really got after them in the offensive zone. The Flyers would take that opening frame over their second period just about every time.

“We thought we played better in the games that we lost,” Michael Raffl said. “We got away from it in the second period a little bit. We’ve got to keep doing what we do and it’s going to work. At the end of the day, when you work like that and keep outshooting opponents, you’ll be on the better end of the game at the end most of the time.”

The Flyers had to practically defend themselves following back-to-back losses by a combined score of 10-4. The Flyers outshot the opposition, 91-38, but uneven defeats don’t sit well with fans, especially ones that have become accustomed to mediocre Octobers.

“Last two games, I know we didn't have the result we wanted, we lost both games, but if you really look into the game, if you understand the game, you understand that we played great games,” Claude Giroux said after morning skate Monday.

The Flyers were OK admitting that they didn’t play their best game against Vegas.

Especially Vigneault.

He’ll be honest about the process — good or bad, no matter what the final score.

“In the second period, we scored four but I really believe that in our last eight periods, it could have been our least effective as far as going north-south a little bit quick, our puck management, making the right plays at the right time,” Vigneault said. “But when we didn’t do it the right way, we got big saves and when they made a mistake in that second period, we were able to make them pay, which we hadn’t been able to do for quite some time.”

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How's that for a breakthrough? Flyers catch fire and beat Golden Knights to snap losing streak

How's that for a breakthrough? Flyers catch fire and beat Golden Knights to snap losing streak

BOX SCORE 

The Flyers felt they had dominated their last two games.

The scoreboard said otherwise.

On Monday night, the Flyers quashed the debate by ripping off five goals through the first two periods en route to an emphatic 6-2 win over the Golden Knights at the Wells Fargo Center.

The victory for the Flyers (3-3-1) put a four-game losing streak to bed as Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes, Michael Raffl (two), Matt Niskanen and Oskar Lindblom all scored.

The Golden Knights (6-4-0) were coming off a shutout of the Penguins and their penalty kill was 33 for 35 on the season.

The Flyers impressively put up a six-spot on Vegas with two of the goals coming on the man advantage.

• Alain Vigneault’s team made a statement in the second period with four goals. Quite frankly, it needed to make a statement. Winning the shot battle is not a statement — putting up crooked numbers, though, speaks volumes (see story).

The Flyers had scored seven combined goals through the first and second periods this season. They weren’t giving up a ton, but they weren’t capitalizing, either.

This time, the Flyers did, and against a pretty good Western Conference contender.

Now it’s a matter of producing consistently.

• Let’s not forget how good Brian Elliott was against the Golden Knights. He converted big saves, many of which came before the score turned lopsided.

After the Flyers had yielded 10 goals in their previous two games, the 34-year-old picked up 33 stops. He has 76 saves on 81 shots in three career matchups with Vegas.

He could get the next game in Chicago.

Golden Knights backup Oscar Dansk had a rough outing.

• Joel Farabee, the 14th overall pick in the 2018 draft, made his anticipated NHL debut just five games into his pro career.

Last Saturday, Farabee’s mother, grandmother and older brother traveled from Cicero, New York (right outside of Syracuse) to watch his game at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

His mother Pam was back on the road Monday with Farabee’s father Dave to watch their son’s first NHL game at the Wells Fargo Center.

Farabee, a skilled and strategic goal-scoring winger, didn’t score but exhibited his sharp reads and angles to the puck. He gives the Flyers a flashy skill in the bottom six, a type of player who can make a play out of nothing.

• There has been no slowing down Konecny and Lindblom, who have been the Flyers’ two best players. The Flyers have desperately needed some of their promising youth to take big steps. So far, so good from the 22-year-old Konecny and 23-year-old Lindblom.

Konecny has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in seven games.

For some perspective on his start, the Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 10 games so far.

With his two-point effort, Lindblom has four goals and six points in seven games. Last season, he scored four goals in his first 45 games. The Flyers have put Lindblom in a position that suits him well and he’s taking advantage of it.

• The Flyers’ defensemen were strong and a combined plus-6.

• The unsung Raffl notched his first two-goal game since March 15, 2016.

• Four of the Flyers’ next five games are on the road.

To begin the stretch, the Flyers visit the Blackhawks on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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