Flyers

Similarities between Flyers prospect Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk are striking

Similarities between Flyers prospect Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk are striking

BOSTON — Joel Farabee took time out of his hectic college schedule of practice, studying and commuting to catch the first half of the Flyers-Bruins game while meeting general manager Chuck Fletcher for the first time.

There are still adjustments for the 18-year-old Boston University freshman to living in the big city. Navigating around Boston's quirky streets is a challenge, rush hour traffic being the reason he didn't arrive at TD Garden until the opening faceoff.

However, Farabee, who will turn 19 later this month, was long gone before the second period ended. There was no time to stick around and meet some of his future teammates with a game against No. 2-ranked UMass on Friday night.  

Ask Farabee when he sees himself wearing orange and black and the answer is typically in stride with any other first-round selection.

I’d like to get there as soon as possible. I think that would be what everybody would say. I’m just taking it day-by-day right now and focusing on what I need to do to get to this level. Once the season ends, we’ll see what happens if I go back, I’m not really sure yet.

If you’re looking for a comparable player to measure Farabee’s development, James van Riemsdyk is the first guy that comes to mind. 

The similarities have been striking. Both athletes went through the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP), and then respectively, took their careers to Hockey East, with van Riemsdyk spending two seasons at University of New Hampshire. Farabee’s interview even sounds a lot like van Riemsdyk when he speaks.

As expected, following a slow start, Farabee has adjusted almost seamlessly — his game has grown and so has he. 

Listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, he’s probably more in the 180-pound range now as he continues to increase his size and strength by adding muscle. Farabee has also put together a recent 10-game stretch scoring five goals and added eight assists. By the end of the season, he should be the Terriers' leading scorer.   

“It’s going really well,” Farabee said. “It’s nice to get a little change of pace from the national program, and go to school and be in Boston. Obviously, school comes first there, but hockey is a pretty close second. We’re pretty focused on what we need to do. I don’t get caught up in being a college athlete.” 

Looking over the class selection at BU, one might expect a college athlete to register for Gangster Films (yes, that’s actually a class), but Farabee prefers his course in sports psychology. After all, it’s just another step in his overall development. 

“A lot of it is being coachable and stuff like that,” Farabee said. “That’s been the first couple of classes and looking at yourself, how good of a person you are, and what you can do to make strides in your everyday life.” 

Farabee’s strides are now turning into leaps. 

It helped to be surrounded with high-caliber talent at the USNTDP, where five players were selected in the first 41 picks of the 2018 NHL draft, and everything about Farabee suggests he’s the complete player — his speed, his skill, his leadership and a commitment to being an all-around player.  

van Riemsdyk spent two seasons playing collegiately, before joining the Phantoms briefly at the end of his sophomore season. The following year he joined the Flyers full-time at the age of 21.

By that standard, if you’re wondering when Farabee could join the likes of Carter Hart, Ivan Provorov and Nolan Patrick, the 2020-21 campaign is one to target. 

Everything about Farabee suggests he’ll be more than ready.  

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Flyers mascot Gritty surprises patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Flyers mascot Gritty surprises patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Gritty and the Flyers' ice team brought smiles to the faces of patients on the oncology floor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

It was an awesome surprise Wednesday as the Flyers provided Love Your Melon hats and tickets to the team's Hockey Fights Cancer game on Nov. 25 against the Canucks.

Gritty and company took pictures, handed out gifts and, most importantly, gave the kids a fun day (which you can watch in the video above, with footage courtesy of the Flyers).

The Flyers truly do wonderful work in the community and so does the NHL with its Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.

(AP Images/Matt Slocum)

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Morgan Frost provides a highlight but Flyers are left looking for more answers following 4th straight loss

Morgan Frost provides a highlight but Flyers are left looking for more answers following 4th straight loss

BOX SCORE

Morgan Frost offered a snapshot of what the Flyers hope is a prosperous future for the skillful playmaker.

The present on Tuesday night did not depict as pretty of a picture.

The Flyers fell behind 4-1 during the second period, Carter Hart was yanked and a 5-2 loss to the Panthers at BB&T Center marked the final result.

Frost gave the Flyers a highlight on a night that didn't feature many for Alain Vigneault's club. The 2017 first-round pick deposited a dazzling goal in his NHL debut but the Flyers (10-7-4) dropped their fourth straight game, a losing skid that has come directly after a season-best four-game winning streak.

The Panthers (11-5-5) can score goals with the best teams in the NHL. They were also allowing 3.55 per game, fourth worst in the league, but kept the Flyers at bay.

• Hart had been so good in November. When he's not on his game, the Flyers can be exposed, which is exactly what happened against Florida.

The 21-year-old goalie entered 4-1-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .934 save percentage this month. He wasn't good Tuesday, the Flyers didn't help him and things unraveled.

The first period set the tone when the Panthers' first goal went off Andy Andreoff's stick. Then Hart allowed Brett Connolly to score from a crazy angle off the netminder's back.

Hart had allowed only one first-period goal over his previous five starts. Florida got him twice in the opening frame and ended his night midway through the second period with its fourth goal.

• The Flyers have now allowed more goals (61) than they've scored (60). During the four-game losing streak, they've scored 1.75 goals per game.

Vigneault continues to plead for more from his veterans. They simply have not answered his call and the Flyers are more than a quarter way into the season. The Flyers' record is very indicative of what they've received from their big boys.

Kevin Hayes recorded his first point in 10 games with a first-period assist on Travis Sanheim's goal. He played 19:01 minutes, four-plus at shorthanded. James van Riemsdyk went scoreless and played 12:56, his second-lowest ice time of the season. Jakub Voracek went scoreless, as well, in 15:31 minutes.

That trio has combined for 30 points in 21 games. The Flyers have to find a way to spark those three, along with Claude Giroux.

• Frost was a nice positive. He played with pace, he was active and was consistently a threat. His goal was very Frost-like.

Expect Vigneault to give him another game with Giroux and Travis Konecny.

• Joel Farabee made a costly turnover that led to Aleksander Barkov's second-period goal, which put the Flyers in a 3-1 hole. The Flyers were also slow to get back on the play. Bad all the way around (see highlights).

The 19-year-old was a minus-2 with three giveaways. He's a kid and there will be growing pains. Farabee snapped his stick in frustration when he went to the bench. Now it's a matter of seeing if he can play his way out of some struggles.

• Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen were a combined minus-5. Shayne Gostisbehere played only 14:33. While the Panthers pounced on mistakes, the Flyers couldn't fend them off or get much going at 5-on-5.

The Flyers went 0 for 2 on the power play.

• The Flyers stay on the road and visit the Hurricanes Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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