VOORHEES, N.J. – The Flyers learned Joel Farabee has been cleared for contact. There’s now cautious optimism he will be ready for the season opener on Thursday.
Farabee, who underwent a rare form of neck surgery in the offseason, has been practicing and is considered ready from a conditioning standpoint.
“He’s cleared for contact but now he has to go through the protocol with our trainers,’’ said coach John Tortorella after Friday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center. “I think he’s practiced really well. We still have a few days here. I’m hoping it (a return) is opening night.’’
Tortorella has his fingers crossed because Farabee is a big part of the team’s offensive scheme.
“He’s an important guy because when we do get healthy that we do have a little balance in the lines,’’ the coach said. “He’s a good player.
“That (prognosis) is really good news.’’
Farabee sounds like he can’t wait to get going.
“When I first got surgery, I didn’t think I would be in camp at all,’’ Farabee said. “So to be able to do all the stuff in camp and some of the practices was definitely good for me.
“I felt if I didn’t do that, it probably would have been a little tougher to get back.’’
Farabee said there was a fine line between training too much and perhaps not enough during the offseason as he recovered.
As for Thursday, it’s just sort of a wait and see.
“I really can’t confirm anything now,’’ he said. “I have to talk to the guys here but I’m really hoping to play.’’
>Open competition on for last defense spots
Tortorella said there is an open competition for not only the No. 6 spot on defense but also the No. 5 spot.
When camp opened, most figured Justin Braun would be a lock for one of those two positions but the coach said Nick Seeler, Egor Zamula and Ronnie Attard are in the mix.
Veteran Kevin Connauton was placed on waivers on Friday for the purpose of assigning him to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Braun returned to the Flyers as a free agent after he was traded to the Rangers as a rental last spring. Even if the coach is making noise about an open competition for the third pairing, Braun figures to secure a spot.
“I don’t think I’ve played very well this camp so far,’’ Braun said. “So I have to play better to have that spot. We have some good competition.
“If you’re not a guy in that top four spot, you have to battle for that spot every day. We have a few days left before the season kicks off so you have to show what you have going into these final days.
>Grosenick to Phantoms
In addition to Connauton, veteran goalie Troy Grosenick was also placed on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to the Phantoms.