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.  

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.

More on the Flyers

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien hospitalized with chest pain

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien hospitalized with chest pain

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien has been hospitalized because of chest pain, the team announced Thursday.

Julien is not expected to return to the bench for the Canadiens' best-of-seven first-round playoff series against the Flyers. Assistant coach Kirk Muller will take over head coaching duties in the interim.

Julien was behind the bench leading Montreal in Game 1 Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The Flyers beat the Canadiens, 2-1, while the series continues Friday with Game 2 at 3 p.m. ET.

Here is a statement from Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, via the team's official website:

Good afternoon. I'm here to inform you of the reason Claude Julien was not here this morning at practice. Claude experienced chest pain during the night. We immediately consulted our doctors and it was agreed to transfer him to the hospital by ambulance. He's presently there and he's undergoing tests to determine the exact nature of his condition. This has nothing to do with COVID.

We don't expect him to be back during this series against the Flyers. Kirk, Dominique [Ducharme] and Luke [Richardson] will share the responsibility, however, Kirk is the associate head coach and he will assume the responsibility of head coach until Claude's return.  

We understand that Kirk does not speak French, but these are exceptional circumstances and we're asking you for your understanding. Out of respect for Claude and his family, I will not answer any further questions about his medical condition.

The veteran coach led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011. The 60-year-old began his NHL head coaching career in Montreal and has been with the club for parts of seven seasons.

"There’s no doubt that there’s a deep bond and a deep respect because we know the jobs that we’re doing," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said about Julien before the series.

Vigneault, 59, also began his NHL head coaching career in Montreal. From 1981-83, Vigneault and Julien were teammates on the Central Hockey League's Salt Lake Golden Eagles.

"I didn't see him after the game," Vigneault said Thursday afternoon in a video interview following practice. "I've known Claude since I was 20, so we go way back, good friends. I'm going to reach out with him; I just found out the news, I want to say 20 minutes ago, just before jumping on the bus. I'm not aware of exactly what happened."

Sports Uncovered is on all podcast platforms: click here to subscribe now!

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.

More on the Flyers

Flyers Talk podcast: The good, some bad and what's ahead for Canadiens series

Flyers Talk podcast: The good, some bad and what's ahead for Canadiens series

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra and Jordan Hall discuss the good, some bad and what's ahead following the team's tight Game 1 win over the Canadiens.

From the goalie matchup to something important to remember, let's dive in:

1:15 — Flyers fans were nervous in Game 1; that's a good thing

3:30 — Have the Flyers been the best team in the tourney so far?

5:00 — Biggest takeaways from Game 1, good and bad

9:15 — Did the Flyers get under Carey Price's skin?

15:20 — How concerned are we about that shaky second period?

19:45 — Joel Farabee, so impressive, so smart

 24:50 — What do we think about Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg and the defensive pairs?

 29:35 — Something to remember ahead of Game 2

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.

More on the Flyers