jakub voracek

Flyers know how to support Nolan Patrick through the highs and lows of migraine disorder

Flyers know how to support Nolan Patrick through the highs and lows of migraine disorder

VOORHEES, N.J. — Jakub Voracek rattled off the oppressiveness of Nolan Patrick's situation.

Voracek knew it all. He feels for Patrick.

At 21 years old, Patrick has been dealt a heavy blow of adversity and the timing couldn't be much worse. The 2017 second overall draft pick is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason. After playing 145 games over his first two seasons, he has not played a game in 2019-20 as he fights a daily battle with a migraine disorder.

This was not how he envisioned setting up his future with the Flyers. An injury and recovery that are hard to predict have made what's next awfully difficult to foresee.

"I don’t think many of us can imagine what he has to go through," Voracek said Wednesday. "Third year, contract year, expecting big things out of him and all of a sudden you’re out for three quarters of a season. It’s really hard mentally. When he’s going to come back, I’m sure it’s going to make him stronger because it’s really hard to go through. I can’t wait to see him back on the ice during a game.”

There was a small but positive sign Wednesday when Patrick joined the Flyers for a skills practice. Although it wasn't an intense, contact, game preparation practice, Patrick skating with the full team can only strengthen his outlook. He hasn't practiced with the Flyers since the end of October, when he was starting to do so in a non-contact jersey.

During December, Patrick mentioned how his teammates "have been amazing" in support

"I can’t really thank my teammates enough," he said.

How have the Flyers gone about that support? Just being there, treating him like one of the guys.

Not ask him how he feels," Voracek said. "It’s annoying. I know when I went through my concussions, ‘How you feel?’ Every single day, you’ve got 30 questions on how you’re feeling, then you get home and you’re tired of it, then your mother is asking you how you feel. That’s the way it is.

I don’t know where he stands, I don’t want to ask him that much because everybody’s asking him and I know how annoying it gets after everyone is asking you how you feel.

So when he wants to talk, just talk to him. If he doesn’t feel all right, just kind of let him be, let him figure it out and let him fight through it. There’s a sign that it’s getting better because he’s been out there, so that’s good.

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

The Flyers enjoyed seeing Patrick smiling and practicing Wednesday.

“It’s always great to see Patty," Claude Giroux said. "He looks good on the ice, he’s got a skill set that not a lot of guys have.

“He’s going through a lot. As teammates, probably the worst thing is you can’t really do anything to help him. You want to see him back in the lineup, it’s been tough. We try to support him, but at the same time, you don’t want to be asking him every day how he’s feeling, it gets kind of annoying. He’s a really good guy, great kid. Good things are going to happen.

"I feel the last few weeks or so, he’s been looking pretty good. That kind of injury, you don’t really know how to evaluate it or know if it’s getting better or what. We’re all on the same page, same team, just supporting our teammate. Hopefully he gets back soon."

While there is no specific timeframe for his return, Patrick and the Flyers have said the expectation is for him to play this season. The Flyers know how important Patrick could be to their lineup as 29 games remain in the playoff push. Patrick provides size, skill and smarts down the middle, where the Flyers don't feature a ton of depth, forcing Giroux to shift back to center and creating constant change on the fourth line.

“He’s a big part of our team that when he comes back, he’s going to be a huge, huge boost," Voracek said. "So I’m excited to get him back.

"He’s a great kid, still young. Great kid, great teammate."

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'Anything else?' — Jakub Voracek hilariously calls out Flyers fan on Twitter

'Anything else?' — Jakub Voracek hilariously calls out Flyers fan on Twitter

Philly fans will call anyone out.

And Jakub Voracek is not afraid to call them out, either.

That dynamic is what makes the relationship between Voracek and Flyers fans so great.

We saw the latest edition of the relationship's fun history after the Flyers' 6-3 win Saturday night over the Avalanche at the Wells Fargo Center.

When a member on Twitter suggested trading the 30-year-old winger, Voracek put the hot take on blast.

Anything else? What a way to finish off that tweet.

Voracek's analysis is completely valid. After all, he has been one of the most impactful players to the Flyers' turnaround this season.

Alongside Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee, Voracek helped hold Colorado's scary line of Nathan MacKinnon (scoreless), Mikko Rantanen (one goal) and Gabriel Landeskog (one assist) in check.

Voracek is third on the Flyers in points (40) and plus-minus (plus-12). Over his last 30 games dating back to Nov. 23, he has 27 points and a plus-15 mark. The Flyers are 17-10-3 in that stretch.

"If I play good defense, nobody is going to see that because I don’t produce offensively. If I produce offensively and I still make a couple of mistakes, they’re going to say I’m sh---y defensively," Voracek said in October. "It’s a no-win situation."

If you're trying to complain about Voracek being some sort of problem this season, you're really stretching.

It appears the "Voracek needs to go first" tweet was eventually deleted.

Touché, Jake.

 

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Brian Elliott delivers, Jakub Voracek passes Eric Lindros, Rick MacLeish and Flyers earn OT win over Ducks

Brian Elliott delivers, Jakub Voracek passes Eric Lindros, Rick MacLeish and Flyers earn OT win over Ducks

BOX SCORE

Right now on the road, the Flyers don't care about points for artistic merit.

They'll take wins however they can get them away from the Wells Fargo Center. They picked up a big one Sunday night with a 2-1 OT decision over the Ducks at Honda Center.

Fewer than 24 hours prior, the Flyers were whipped in San Jose, 6-1. They came into Anaheim with an 8-10-1 record and a minus-24 goal differential on the road.

Kevin Hayes scored the winner in bonus time off a precise feed from Jakub Voracek.

The Flyers (22-12-5) are two games into their six-game road trip.

The Ducks (16-18-5) own the NHL's second-fewest points since Nov. 3, going 7-12-5.

• Brian Elliott allowed a bad goal 35 seconds into the game on an Erik Gudbranson shot from the blue line.

After that, he was clutch for the Flyers, who have really needed strong goaltending on the road because of prolonged stretches in which they've struggled to score.

In the third period, Elliott helped kill a 5-on-3 and recorded 13 saves. He finished with 27 overall.

Over their previous five road games (1-4-0), the Flyers allowed 4.80 goals per game and scored only 10.

Elliott stemmed the tide (see highlights).

Anaheim goalie John Gibson was also good, stopping 33 shots. 

• With helpers on both of the Flyers' goals, Voracek passed Hall of Famer Eric Lindros and Flyers Hall of Famer Rick MacLeish for sixth on the franchise's all-time assists list.

That's legit company for Voracek, who has 370 assists in his time with the orange and black. 

Along with Hayes and James van Riemsdyk, Voracek has turned it on with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) and a plus-10 rating in his last 17 games.

Sean Couturier scored the opening-period goal to give Voracek his first assist. Couturier keeps humming along, leading the Flyers in even-strength scoring with 23 points.

• Nicolas Aube-Kubel, a 23-year-old winger called up on Dec. 15, has forced the Flyers into tough decisions with his energetic and opportunistic game. Morgan Frost was sent to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley before the game and Andy Andreoff could join him soon when Scott Laughton (groin, day to day) returns.

With the Frost move, the 23-year-old Aube-Kubel earned power play time Sunday and he was constantly noticeable at even strength.

Aube-Kubel was summoned by the banged-up Flyers out of sheer necessity and he's given the club every reason to keep him here.

• Mikhail Vorobyev, who stayed with the Flyers over Frost, committed two penalties. Following the second infraction, which came six minutes into the third period of a 1-1 game, Vorobyev saw the ice only once more for a brief shift.

Vorobyev, who turns 23 years old next Sunday, is in his fifth stint with the Flyers going back to last season. 

• Head coach Alain Vigneault tried some different combinations at forward, putting Voracek with Couturier and Claude Giroux, while Travis Konecny joined Hayes and van Riemsdyk.

Aube-Kubel went to the fourth line with Andreoff and Michael Raffl, who returned from a broken right pinkie finger that had him out since early this month.

• Robert Hagg drew into the lineup as Philippe Myers sat. The Flyers are playing three games in four days and these decisions on defense can be a positive.

• The road trip continues Tuesday when the Flyers visit the Kings (9 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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