Willman on COVID list; Hart has ‘undetermined’ illness

Carter Hart

As the old line goes, there was some good news and some bad news coming out of the Flyers’ camp on Saturday morning.

The positive development: Joel Farabee took part in the morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center and, after missing seven games with an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup for the game against the Ottawa Senators.

On the negative side, forward Max Willman became the second Flyer to land on the NHL’s COVID protocol list, joining teammate Morgan Frost  on the sideline.

And, in another not-so-cheery disclosure, the Flyers said goaltender Carter Hart will miss the game with an “undetermined’’ illness.

The Flyers called up goaltender Felix Sandstrom from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on an emergency basis to cover for Hart and serve as backup to starter Martin Jones.

The Flyers said an unnamed staff member also went on the COVID list.

After the skate, interim head coach Mike Yeo said he wasn’t sure if Hart’s health issue is or isn’t COVID-related.

The Flyers enter the Ottawa encounter 3-0-1 over their last four games.

As for Hart, Yeo didn’t find out about the illness until Saturday morning.

“Carter is sick,’’ Yeo said. “We don’t know if it’s COVID-related or not.’’

Getting Farabee back should help the Flyers’ offense. With his return, the only other forward out of action is Derick Brassard.

“Obviously good timing,’’ said Yeo, who had Farabee skating with Sean Couturer and Travis Konecny on the top line at the pre-game workout. “He’s such a valuable player for us. He’s a guy that we’re going to ease back in. He has the ability to make plays and create offense for us. Also the way he plays the game, the way he plays without the puck. He’s a guy you feel comfortable going against top players as well.’’

If the Flyers can get Brassard back in the near future, it would certainly make offensive strategy a lot easier.

“There are some bright lights up ahead,’’ said Yeo, who hasn’t had a full complement of players since taking over from Alain Vigneault six games ago. “Derick had a good skate yesterday and he looked good (today) as well. (He’s) inching along. We still have a lot of guys out of the lineup here. Anytime we see some guys getting close to a return, it’s a huge plus.’’

Yeo said the Flyers will make-do with what they have at the moment.

“Good teams rise up to challenges,’’ he said. “There are teams out there where just when you think their backs are against the wall, that they’re in a tough position, they find a way to come out and get the job done. So that’s what we want to become.’’

Couturier is showing signs of coming out of a lengthy offensive slump and having Farabee on his line should only help the process.

“He brings energy,’’ Couturier said. “We’re glad to have him back. He’s a big part of our team.’’

About Wayne Fish 1564 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.