Benching a player mid-game is nothing new in John Torotrella’s system. He did it last season with Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes. He’s done it this year with Cam York and Egor Zamula. And it won’t be the last time we likely see a player stapled to the bench. Even against a division rival when the team was already down another forward. That was the case for Joel Farabee.
Garnet Hathaway was given a five minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Luke Hughes. Upon review of the major penalty, the call was upheld. Looking at the hit itself, it certainly didn’t warrant the final call and Tortorella was rightfully pissed at the outcome. Hathaway and Hughes were racing for an icing and the former hit the latter from the side, sending him into the boards. The whistle for icing did not come until after Hathaway laid the hit. But the refs decided it was an illegal play anyway.
Even before that, Tortorella was already playing a man short. Farabee would end up playing just 56 seconds in the eventual overtime loss to the Devils. The play in question that kept Farabee on the bench was the Devils’ first goal. It appears that Tortorella wasn’t happy with Farabee’s over commitment in the offensive zone and him then not being there on the back check. So there he sat on the bench despite the Flyers eventually finding themselves in a 3-1 hole at one point. Even done to 10 forwards, Farabee sat on the bench and watched.
And Tortorella was frank when asked directly after the game and then the next day after practice.
"”He didn’t listen,” Tortorella said on why Farabee was benched.“I had a two-second discussion as we passed ways in the hallway. That’s all I need,” Tortorella said on if he spoke to Farabee at all."
That’s not out of the ordinary for the Flyers head coach. He does stand by his players in terms of not airing out their discussions. We’ll see how Farabee reacts when the team travels to Pittsburgh. He is expected to be back on the ice in a full capacity.
Farabee came into this season looking to prove something after a down year. He was recovering from a neck injury and it was clear it took him awhile to get back to where he was before that. He is off to a much better start this year, posting eight goals and 15 points in 23 games. He didn’t register his eighth goal until January last season. Farabee is doing this while also averaging almost less than three minutes of ice time from what he had last season. He hasn’t played under 15 minutes on average since his rookie season.