In a ray of light, Flyers nearing a ‘luxury' they haven't had much this season


VOORHEES, N.J. — Mike Yeo sort of chuckled as he mentioned impending lineup decisions.

"That's a good thing," the Flyers' interim head coach said Thursday. "We haven't really had that luxury of competition, of having options. We're going to have some here."

The injury-plagued Flyers (15-26-10) are starting to look fuller and the biggest reason is Joel Farabee's upcoming return to the lineup Saturday when the club hosts the Capitals (12:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Farabee, who turns 22 years old Friday, has missed the last 11 games because of a second injury to the area of his left shoulder. Farabee also missed about two weeks in December after initially injuring the shoulder.

"I don't think you can simulate a game in practice or getting hit when you're not expecting it in practice. I think the game will be a good test for me, but I feel really good with my rehab and everything like that," Farabee said. "I'm not worried about getting hit or anything. I think that's the biggest thing, I'm not really thinking about it. Feel good, my body feels good and I'm ready to go."

At practice Thursday, the goal-scoring winger was with Claude Giroux and Cam Atkinson on the Flyers' first line and also joined the top power play unit. Farabee has blossomed into an all-situation guy for the Flyers and has been missed dearly on both sides of the puck. During his 11-game absence, the Flyers have gone 2-7-2, while allowing 4.09 goals per game and scoring 2.73. On the season, the Flyers rank 28th in the NHL with 2.53 goals per game.

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When the Flyers host Washington, they're expected to see the return of their No. 1 goalie. Carter Hart said he should be good to go for Saturday after missing the last two games because of an eye infection.

"It's just a stye, so it's kind of one of those annoying things, but it feels better," Hart said.

The 23-year-old has dealt with a stye on each eye this season.

"I've never had them before until this year, so it's weird," he said.

This one caused swelling around his eye, forcing him to miss the club's back-to-back set over Monday and Tuesday.

"I woke up Monday and couldn't really see out of it," Hart said. "Vision's pretty important to stopping a puck."

Derick Brassard centered the Flyers' third line at practice and was on the second power play unit.

The 34-year-old veteran has missed 31 of the last 34 games because of a persistently nagging hip injury. He has returned three times from the injury only to come back out of the lineup the very next game.

"I'm not sure on Brass yet," Yeo said of his potential return. "I'm trying to get him full reps here to test everything. Give him the opportunity to try to get feeling good about his game, but also give everything a real test. Obviously the goal is to get him back and keep him back here."

After the Flyers practice Friday, they'll make a decision on Brassard's status for Saturday.

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Kevin Hayes has continued to make good progress in his recovery from abdominal issues. A little less than two weeks ago, general manager Chuck Fletcher said the 29-year-old center had a 50/50 chance to play again this season. The Flyers circled March 1 as a date for when they would decide if Hayes had to be shut down.

Hayes practiced again Thursday. He won't play Saturday but Yeo believes at some point next week Hayes could possibly return.

"He's getting close," Yeo said. "I think that there's a good chance we could see Kevin in the lineup. I know he had a real positive MRI, a real positive doctor's appointment that gave him some good news.

"I can tell that he's got more pace and more jump to the way he looks right now compared to when he was in the lineup."

Yeo reiterated that Hayes and the Flyers have next season and his overall future in mind with the decision.

"I know that Hayesy is approaching this as carefully as he possibly can, getting all the advice from multiple, multiple people, resources," Yeo said. "A hundred percent Hayesy is committed to the Flyers' organization and his long-term ability to help this organization, so he's not going to jeopardize that just by coming back and playing a few games this year. Everything that he is doing is based on the long-term idea of what he can bring for this group.

"It hurts for him not being in the lineup, he wants to play, but having the conversations that I've had, he doesn't want to jeopardize next year. But at the same time, if people are telling him that maybe he doesn't need surgery, maybe coming back and playing is going to help him more next year, then he might follow that advice as well. He's just got to continue to listen to the experts right now and that's what he's doing."

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Wade Allison (MCL sprain) rehab skated Thursday with skills coach Angelo Ricci. The Flyers are hoping to get the 24-year-old winger cleared for full participation next week.

Here's how the Flyers looked at practice Thursday, with Hayes, Morgan Frost, Max Willman and Kevin Connauton appearing to be extras.


Joel Farabee-Claude Giroux-Cam Atkinson

Oskar Lindblom-Scott Laughton-Travis Konecny

James van Riemsdyk-Derick Brassard-Gerry Mayhew

Isaac Ratcliffe-Patrick Brown-Zack MacEwen


Ivan Provorov-Justin Braun

Travis Sanheim-Rasmus Ristolainen

Keith Yandle-Nick Seeler


Carter Hart

Martin Jones

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