Farabee takes notable step; Tortorella says putting D-man on waivers a ‘tough one'


VOORHEES, N.J. — With the local nine back in the playoffs Friday, Joel Farabee donned his red Phillies hat after practice.

Consider it his cleared-for-contact cap.

The Flyers' winger took an important step in his path toward a potential return for the team's regular-season opener. He was given the OK to participate in full-contact fashion for practice.

Farabee is recovering from disc replacement surgery in his cervical region that he underwent on June 24. He practiced throughout training camp as a non-contact participant, but had gradually started to try things out in physicality.

"A couple of times guys were like, 'Can I hit you? Can I hit you?'" Farabee said. "I was just like, 'Yeah, go for it.' ... But I think just doing battles and stuff the first couple of days of camp definitely helped, just that stick strength and all that kind of stuff definitely helps."

He had no restrictions on the ice Friday for the first time since his procedure. Justin Braun's style of defense was a solid test.

"Today felt good, I got bumped a few times, Brauner caught me a couple of times," Farabee said. "So no issues and feeling good.

"Just trying to get ready for Game 1."

The 22-year-old's status is still to be determined for the Flyers' opener Oct. 13 against the Devils at the Wells Fargo Center. His three-to-four month recovery timetable had him projected to miss most of camp and possibly the start of the regular season.

"I'm hoping for it. I don't want to say, I can't really confirm anything now," Farabee said about the season opener. "Obviously I've got to talk to the guys here. We have a few more days before the first game, but I'm really hoping to."

The Flyers are going to be careful here. But what Farabee has been able to do in camp has been promising for them.

"When I first got surgery, I didn't think I was going to be in camp at all," Farabee said. "So to be able to do all the skating in camp and do some of the practices was definitely good for me."

John Tortorella has liked what he has seen from Farabee.

"I think he's practiced really well," the Flyers' head coach said. "He's had contact, now he's cleared for full contact. We still have a few days here. I'm hoping it's opening night.

"He's an important guy because it gives me an opportunity to maybe, when we do get healthy, have a little bit of balance in the lines. He's a good player."

Farabee became the third NHL player to ever have this procedure, joining Golden Knights center Jack Eichel and Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson. Prior to surgery, he talked to Eichel about the process of getting hit again.

"He was a little nervous before he took his first couple of hits but he said after that, the mental part of it, he didn't really even think about it," Farabee said. "That's kind of how I feel now, I'm not really even thinking about it. I'm just going out there and playing. I feel like I play my best when I do that. Obviously some bad hits are going to come along the way, but I feel like my body's in a good spot to handle all of that."

Connauton, Grosenick on waivers

The Flyers trimmed their roster by two Friday. They placed defenseman Kevin Connauton and goalie Troy Grosenick on waivers. If the two clear Saturday, they’ll report to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

The club has eight healthy defensemen remaining on its roster. Nick Seeler seems poised to open the season as the Flyers' sixth defenseman. The team might not have to carry an extra blueliner to begin the year. Prospects Ronnie Attard and Egor Zamula are competing for a spot.

Tortorella spoke highly about the 32-year-old Connauton.

"That's a tough one for me because Kevin's had such a good camp, he's such a good pro," Tortorella said. "When I talked to him this summer, I warned him, it's going to be some kids here involved in this situation, as far as us developing some kids. He understands it.

"I think he's going to be a big part of this because I think he's going to play, I think he's going to be with us along the way here. What's great about Kevin is I think he can instill himself down there as a veteran guy, a great pro and teaching some of our kids down there."

The Flyers' roster is at 32, including injured players.

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