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Bubble Updates: Raffl, Farabee, Top Line, and More

August 4, 2020, 9:48 AM ET [135 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Quick Hits: August 4, 2020

1) Although the Flyers are prohibited by the terms of the NHL/NHLPA return-to-play plan from describing the nature of any player absence -- or from giving a timetable for a potential return -- head coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged yesterday that veteran winger Michael Raffl would miss time. In cases where it's a clear-cut, plain sight injury, such as the lower-body injury Raffl sustained in the third period of Sunday's game when he went awkwardly into the boards, it's a little silly to not even be able to confirm that the player was injured and give an estimate for how long he will be out.

Raffl's injury did not appear to be the type that would keep a player out of the entire playoffs if the team were to make a deep run. However, it wouldn't be a shock if it's a 4-plus week type of injury, based on the outcomes of how similar plays appeared visually.

2) Vigneault confirmed that rookie left wing Joel Farabee would be in the lineup on Thursday night against the Washington Capitals. The team has a complete off-day on Tuesday, but will resume practice on Wednesday. The head coach said he is considering other lineup tweaks for Wednesday's practice.

3) Vigneault is always candid when asked for his assessment about a how a particular player is performing. In regard to James van Riemsdyk, who suffered a broken right index finger in early March but was fully recovered by the time the return-to-play plan was formalized, the head coach said he was happy with the player's training camp but less so with his play in last Tuesday's exhibition game win over Pittsburgh and Sunday's round-robin victory over Boston.

"I thought James, in training camp in our first phase in Philly, looked extremely good. I thought he was skating well. He was making some good plays with the puck. I will say so far since we’ve gotten here in Toronto in our two games I’m expecting more. We’ll see here what happens moving forward," Vigneault said.

4) Nic Aube-Kubel, whom assistant coach Mike Yeo said this past Saturday still had some work to do in order to get back to the same level of effectiveness he displayed in the weeks leading up to the NHL pause, skated a team-low 16 shifts and 9:44 of ice time against the Bruins. Vigneault, however, said he thought the player took a step forward in that game, and he was pleased with the winger's performance.

Earlier this week, Vigneault tried a little different look with the line combinations, moving Tyler Pitlick to Nate Thompson's line and Aube-Kubel to Derek Grant's line with van Riemsdyk. The coach stated on Monday that he thought both players responded well.

"I thought Kubes played very well [against Boston]. He got in on the forecheck. He was physical. He was making it hard on Boston’s defense. I felt that Tyler, I don’t want to say re-found his hands or his ability with the puck, but I thought he was much more effective with that line with Nate and Raffy. It was one of our better lines at both ends of the rink last night," Vigneault said.

Despite his somewhat sparing ice time, Aube-Kubel made his presence felt on Sunday with three credited hits, a credited takeaway and two shot attempts (both missed the net). In terms of individual Corsi, he and his line had a break-even day.

5) Speaking of Corsi numbers from that game, how well did Bruce Cassidy's decision fare to go strength-on-strength by matching Patrice Bergeron's line up directly against Sean Couturier's line? Bergeron's individual on-ice Corsi was 38.4 percent, Brad Marchand's was 35.7% and David Pastrnak's was 35.3%. For Philly, Sean Couturier was 76.9 percent, Claude Giroux's was 69.6 percent, and Jakub Voracek was 69.2 percent. Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara was deep under water at 23.1% overall (a relative -40.1% for the day).

6) Yesterday marked the 54th anniversary of Philadelphia Hockey Club, Inc. (the organization's original ownership group) officially adopting "Flyers" as the team name. Nine-year-old Alec Stockard of Narberth, PA, was chosen among "name-the-team-contest" participants who had suggested (the already pre-selected name) on their entries. Alec spelled it "Fliers" on his entry, but all entries with Flyers/Fliers were accepted for the prize drawings.

Alec Stockard's way-too-short life was a tragic one. He suffered from alopecia (which caused him to have no hair on his head or body) and had vision issues that required thick glasses. He was horrifically bullied for his physical appearance, and took his own life at age 20. Recently, Alec's brother, Hamilton Stockard, was a guest on the Museum of Sports Show on 610 ESPN to talk about his late sibling's role in the naming of the team and the pride he took in winning the contest. To listen to a rebroadcast of the show, click here.

For the full story on how the Flyers got their name, iconic logo and orange, black and white color scheme, click here. It was actually Phyllis Snider Foreman, Ed Snider's older sister and the wife of Flyers co-founding partner Earl Foreman, who originally suggested Flyers as the name. Co-founding partner Bill Putnam, the Flyers' first team president, chose burnt orange and white as an homage to the University of Texas Longhorns because he was a UT alum.

Phyllis Snider Foreman passed away on April 11, 2020. Although Ed Snider eventually took over majority ownership of the team and Earl Foreman moved on to other sports ownership ventures, the Foreman's remained part of the extended Flyers family for the rest of their lives. Within the Snider family, Phyllis was a beloved matriarch, with a giving and loving spirit. With a direct-to-the-point nature similar to her brother's, she was very close with Ed but also never hesitated to stand up to him. Earl, who subsequently sold his portion of ownership to brother-in-law Ed, passed away on January 23, 2017.
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