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Discussion Starter #61
Clarke promises real hockey

Clarke promises real hockey
By Jim Kernaghan, Free Press Sports Columnist

Up until the time exhibition games became "preseason" games in the sports vernacular -- about the same time used cars took on the more benign "pre-owned" -- their purpose was pretty straightforward.

It was for players to get into condition while showing team colours to the faithful. And turning a few bucks at the gate and the souvenir stand.

You might even see a star now and then. Mostly, you saw the upper echelon of players taking a few shifts while each team's hopefuls and rookies had it out.

However you want to term what the Brits call friendlies, the Philadelphia Flyers-Atlanta Thrashers game at the John Labatt Centre Sept. 17 will be deadly serious, promises Philly general manager Bob Clarke. It can hardly be anything else under the circumstances.

"We have to accomplish a lot of things in seven (exhibition) games," Clarke said. "We have half a team that has never played together and we have the kids so we've got a lot of work to do in a short period of time under new rules. It's really got to be full speed ahead."

The days are long gone when players turned up for a long training camp to sweat off a summer's inactivity by working toward game fitness in a long barnstorming tour.

They have to be physically ready coming into camp now to devote all their attention to timing and other fine points. It'll be all hands on deck for the game here, Clarke says.

"Everybody," he said. "The only reason somebody wouldn't be with the team would be because of an injury."

That means the man Clarke says caps off the Flyers' lightning post-lockout moves to add quality free agents under the new bargaining agreement will be here. He's the guy who looks like a wolf and plays like one, too, Peter Forsberg.

There's no doubt Philly is going to be a handful with the addition of guys such as giant defencemen Derien Hatcher, Mike Rathje and Chris Therien, along with two of the best from junior hockey, London's Jeff Carter (Soo Greyhounds) and Mike Richards (Kitchener Rangers).

All are slated to play here, as are Atlanta's new names, Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk.

Clarke touched on other reasons it's important to get road games in hot hockey markets, especially going into the most unusual season the NHL has ever experienced. With so many newcomers, road games provide a better opportunity for them to get to know one another.

London is the perfect stop from a number of perspectives. Global Spectrum Facility Management, operators of the JLC, is a subsidiary of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor.

It's a sort of home game. And playing to a full house in true hockey country provides fire.

"There's nothing worse than going into a building and there's only a couple of thousand people," Clarke said. "It'll be a full house in London, a great building, and players always want to perform for a lot of excited hockey fans."

Along with a lot of players getting acquainted, there's the important issue of them getting acquainted with the new rules. Clarke likes the return of the tag-up rule that cuts down offside whistles.

"It's the most important because it helps maintain the flow of the game," he reasoned. "That's what the fans want and that's what the players want. It ought to provide more scoring chances."

Like everyone else, he's waiting to see how the on-ice officials are permitted to call games under the new rules.

"If there are going to be calls for every little nick and hold, it's going to be a broken game again," he warned.

That would make it a sort of pre-owned game, wouldn't it?

Slam!
 

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swflyers8 said:
Clarke promises real hockey
By Jim Kernaghan, Free Press Sports Columnist

... "If there are going to be calls for every little nick and hold, it's going to be a broken game again," he warned.
Slam!
I'm not sure what a little nick is but if you don't call little holds, then the refs jobs will be too difficult I think. They'd have to figure out on the fly if a hold was hard enough or long enough. Let the refs use their whistles to report what they've seen, not what they think they may have seen.
 

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Discussion Starter #63
Keith Primeau Q & A (Discusses roster & concussion recovery)


Flyers captain discusses revamped roster and concussion recovery

Flyers center Keith Primeau recently returned to the area and has started working out and skating with other players at the Flyers' training facility in Voorhees, NJ. Below is a transcript of a Q and A with the Flyers' captain.

To hear the original audio of the interview, click Audio

On how excited he is to get the season underway:

“Really excited, for lots of different reasons. First and foremost, the fact that we missed an entire season last year and were unable to do what we enjoy and love to do. That was the most difficult part. Next, would be all of the new faces and the great players that we brought into the dressing room in the hopes of helping us win a championship.”

On how he thinks Bob Clarke and the front office did in making the acquisitions:

“The one thing about Clarkie is he’s always going to give us an opportunity. For me, that was one of the biggest deciding factors when I re-signed a year ago. As a player, there’ s no better feeling than being a part of an organization or franchise that is willing to go that distance and give you a chance to win. He’s done it again.”

On replacing Jeremy Roenick with Peter Forsberg:

“Jeremy was a good player for us for the three years that he was here. He was always colorful and was always quotable. He’ll be missed, but at the same time we all know Peter’s track record and just exactly what he brings to the table. As much as J.R. will be missed, Peter will replace that and bring a lot to the locker room.”

On what he did to stay in shape during the work stoppage:

“I was at the gym five days a week. Once they cancelled the season, back in February, I stopped skating until about four weeks ago. Physically and mentally my body hasn’t felt this good in a long time. For me, it was somewhat of a blessing in that I still had those concussion symptoms for a long time, post-playoffs. Although I would have tried skating in camp last year, I probably wouldn’t have been ready to go. So, the time off for me has been a real blessing, but now I feel 100 percent and I’m ready to go.”

On his post-concussion symptoms:

“As I said, it took a long time to subside. I would only say I’ve been symptom free in the last three or four months. If you go back three or four months, that’s probably May, or April at the earliest. That would have been an entire season. As I said, I’ve been feeling great the last three or four months. My workouts have been strong, and I’m just really excited about the year.

“I would say my cardio is where I want it to be. Strength-wise, I don’t know if I’ve been stronger, but I’d rather be strong this time of year and have the next four or five weeks to build up my conditioning. We all know once we get on the ice, Hitch will put us through our paces.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

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Discussion Starter #64
Primeau finally shakes concussion effects

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

By CHUCK GORMLEY
Courier-Post Staff

VOORHEES

The post-concussion symptoms Flyers captain Keith Primeau endured throughout most of the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs haunted him for an entire year and it was only recently that the 14-year veteran finally shook the cobwebs.

"Physically and mentally my body hasn't felt this good in a long time," Primeau said Tuesday, after a brisk workout at the Flyers Skate Zone. "For me (the NHL lockout) was somewhat of a blessing in that I still had those concussion symptoms for a long time, post-playoffs. Although I would have tried skating in camp last year, I probably wouldn't have been ready to go."

Primeau, 33, suffered a concussion on Feb. 12 in New York, when he was upended in an open-ice hit against the Rangers. He missed the next 21 games, but returned with a vengeance in the playoffs, leading the Flyers in goals (nine) and points (16).

He later admitted the adrenaline of the playoffs got him through the concussion symptoms and that he felt exercise-induced headaches through last summer and into last spring.

"It took a long time to subside," he said. "I would only say I've been symptom free in the last three or four months. It would have been an entire season (with concussion symptoms)."

Primeau said that since April he has begun increasing his workouts and now feels as strong as he's felt in years.

"I was at the gym five days a week," he said. "Strength-wise, I don't know if I've been stronger, but I'd rather be strong this time of year and have the next four or five weeks to build up my conditioning."

When training camp opens Sept. 19, Primeau could find himself fourth on the Flyers' depth chart at the center position, behind Peter Forsberg, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, although his role as the Flyers' top defensive center will not change.

Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said Carter could begin his NHL career as a right wing on a line with Forsberg, much the same way Simon Gagne moved from center to left wing. And with Michal Handzus listed as a fifth center, the Flyers certainly have plenty of options.

Primeau was among those stunned by Clarke's willingness to dive head-first into the free-agent pool this summer, where he emerged with Forsberg and behemoth defensemen Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje in a span of two days.

"The one thing about Clarkie is he's always going to give us an opportunity," Primeau said. "For me, that was one of the biggest deciding factors when I re-signed (with a four-year deal). As a player, there's no better feeling than being a part of an organization or franchise that is willing to go that distance and give you a chance to win. He's done it again."

Primeau said fans may miss the irrepressible Jeremy Roenick, who has taken his act to Los Angeles, but they'll quickly recognize the all-around talent the Flyers have acquired in Forsberg, a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

"(Roenick) was always colorful and was always quotable and he'll be missed," Primeau said. "But at the same time we all know Peter's track record and what he brings to the table. As much as J.R. will be missed, Peter will replace that and bring a lot to the locker room."

Primeau took advantage of the long work stoppage by getting his hockey equipment company, Fury, off the production line and onto the streets. He said more than a dozen NHL players will be wearing his equipment this season and at least a handful of NHL players will be using his stick.

"We've really created a buzz in the retail and manufacturing industries," said Primeau, who will ring the opening bell at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange on Sept. 1. "We'll be visible."

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Discussion Starter #65
Hitch hiking

Flyers Head Coach Staying Busy and Preparing for Training Camp

by Kevin Kurz, philadelphiaflyers.com

Philadelphia – Ever the ambassador for the team, Flyers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock has only been back in the area for a couple of days but was on hand at the Wachovia Center on Thursday to talk to a group of sponsors about the upcoming season. He is also set to take part in youth and adult hockey mini camps at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, beginning on Monday. In addition to the several TV appearances and radio call-ins he has been consistently making since the end of the work stoppage, has he had any time to think about training camp beginning in less than a month?

Of course he has.

“We’re going to start on Sunday here again and just review everything. [The coaching staff has] had two series of meetings already, so starting Sunday we’re going to review our technical plans, our game plans, and then we’re going to get together and start finalizing all of the roles in conjunction with the Phantoms’ coaches in regards to training camp,” said Hitchcock.


Ken Hitchcock mans the bench during the 2004 NHL playoffs

Then, we’re also going to get together and discuss and formulate our team: who is playing with whom, and what our personnel is going to look like when we play together, and what we can expect. We’ll have some discussions on what some other people think some good line combinations will be, and stuff like that.”

There is certainly lots of work to be done, as the Flyers’ roster has changed dramatically since the team came just one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004. The key additions are no secret, as Peter Forsberg, Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje all signed as unrestricted free agents in early August. Mike Knuble and Turner Stevenson were added in the summer of 2004, while an influx of young talent from the Calder Cup-winning Phantoms includes Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Antero Niittymaki.

Hitchcock is quick to point out that of all of those additions, every one of them has won a championship at either the NHL or AHL level except for Rathje. Forsberg won two Cups in Colorado; Hatcher won with Hitchcock in Dallas in 1999; Knuble was a member of the Detroit Red Wings’ Cup team in 1998; Stevenson won two championships with New Jersey; and Carter, Richards and Niittymaki all won with the Phantoms this past season.

“We’ve added, in my opinion, a lot of very competitive players,” said Hitchcock. “Knuble and Stevenson, Hatcher and Rathje, Forsberg…these are really competitive players. Skill level is one thing, but I’ve seen a lot of skilled players who don’t compete very hard. I know the players here, if you look across the board, almost all of them have won championships, especially in the NHL. That knowledge is invaluable, because we’re going to need it.”

Although the Flyers have improved in Hitchcock’s opinion, there are other teams in the Eastern Conference that have also become much better since the last season. By no means does the head coach think that it will be an easy ride.

“I see a lot of teams that have really improved. I see teams like Ottawa, Boston, Florida and Atlanta. These teams have improved dramatically,” he said. “That doesn’t include a team like Tampa Bay or New Jersey, teams that are always right there.

“I see a lot of teams who are probably giving the same speech we are, that we have a fighting chance, and that is what we’re looking for. We’ve got it, but we also know some of those other teams do as well. If you’re asking for a competitive balance, you’re going to see it because there are a lot of have-nots that now have good teams. It’s going to make for great competition.”

One announcement of note from Hitchcock is that the team will be returning to West Point, NY for four days to practice, take part in team building exercises and try and build that chemistry that is so important to a team’s success in his mind.

“It is conjunction with a lot of the things we’re going to do in September and October to try and bring our group together and create as much chemistry as we can as quickly as we can,” said Hitchcock. “We can’t wait to get out of the box here. We can’t assume that we will have the chemistry like we did before, because, quite frankly, we’ve changed half of our lineup. I think what we have to do is create situations that chemistry can occur in, create some adversity and challenges that it can occur in, and West Point is one of those.”

FLYERS NOTES
For more information on the mini camp that Hitchcock is taking part in, click here. … Several Flyers veterans have been skating at the Flyers training facility in the morning from 8:00 to approximately 9:30 daily.

For Flyers ticket information and an updated seating chart, please click here or call (215) 218-PUCK (7825).

Thursday, August 25, 2005

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Discussion Starter #66
Flyers rookies hope to meet expectations

Flyers rookies hope to meet expectations
Friday, August 26, 2005
By ADAM KIMELMAN
Staff Writer

VOORHEES - In the new world order of the NHL, the salary cap will force teams to give more opportunities to younger players.

And not just on perennial cellar-dwellers, either. Top teams will be depending on rookies, maybe none so much as the Flyers.

As nearly two dozen Flyers and Phantoms players scrimmaged yesterday at Skate Zone, Jeff Carter seemed to skate just fine. No lofty expectations weighed down the 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of London, Ontario.

"It's a huge challenge for us to come in and, hopefully, to make the team and contribute right off the bat," the 20-year-old forward said. "That's our goal. Any way we can help the team and build on it would be great."

The "us" Carter mentioned included rookie teammate Mike Richards, who also skated yesterday.

High expectations have followed the pair since they were chosen in the first round of the 2003 draft.

Carter, chosen 11th overall, and Richards, selected 24th, went from junior standouts to AHL stars during the Phantoms' run to the Calder Cup. Carter led all AHL players in postseason goals (12) and points (23), while Richards added seven goals and eight assists. Between now and when training camp opens Sept. 13, the pair will spend time getting to know some new teammates.

And in Carter's case, a new position. An early look at the depth chart had Carter, who played center in juniors, at right wing on the team's top line, centered by Peter Forsberg and with Simon Gagne on the left side.

"Whatever they think is best for the team," Carter said of the possible move. "If I play right wing it's going to be a good learning experience for me and something I can build on."

Flyers captain Keith Primeau said he wasn't worried about any undue pressures the team's prize rookies might feel.

"We're excited about having both those guys, but we don't want to put too lofty expectations on what they're trying to do and accomplish," Primeau said.

At the same time, though, Primeau said the pair easily could exceed the lofty expectations.

"It'll be interesting to see how the year is going to unfold. There's been so much talk of (top overall pick) Sidney Crosby, but in talking to some people with the Canadian world junior team last year, the order was Mike and Jeff 1-2 - not necessarily in that order - and Sidney was the fourth-best player on that team.

"As much pressure as has been heaped on them, they're really not getting their due recognition at this point, but they'll get it."

-- -- --

A few former Flyers joined yesterday's workout: Eric Weinrich, Justin Williams and Todd Fedoruk. Fedoruk skated in a black Anaheim jersey, while Weinrich and Williams had no problem wearing their former team's colors ... Besides Gagne-Forsberg-Carter, other possible forward lines at training camp include Primeau centering Branko Radivojevic and Patrick Sharp, Michal Handzus between Mike Knuble and Sami Kapanen, and Richards centering Donald Brashear and Turner Stevenson.

NOTE:

Contact Adam Kimelman at [email protected].

NJ.com
 

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i like those possible lines at the end. i would love to see carter stay on the first line and get a huge chance with forsberg helpin him out
 

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If they hold the player at all it's obstruction. If bob clarke doesnt want the refs calling it alot, Make sure his players dont do it.

Im tired of people blaming the refs for doing their job. It's not their fault players are commiting alot of penalties, Nor should they ignore it if there are alot.

If we allow little holds, than we allow obstruction. Than we have what we have had for the past 10 years. A league that has gone down the toilet. I hope the NHL learns from their mistakes.
 

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yeah i cant see the clutching and holding actually end. its part of the game, and the players are used to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #70
Stevenson eager to make Flyers debut

Stevenson Eager to Make Flyers Debut

Former New Jersey Devil signed with team in summer of 2004

by Kevin Kurz, philadelphiaflyers.com

Voorhees, NJ – Flyers fans know Turner Stevenson well.

Although he was not one to put up tremendous offensive numbers during his four years with New Jersey, Stevenson consistently was an agitator with his 6-3, 220–pound frame as the Devils and Flyers battled for Atlantic Division supremacy during the regular season and then met twice in the playoffs.

He signed with the Flyers in July of 2004, so his debut with his former rivals has been a little bit delayed, although that has not diminished his excitement.

“It’s never easy coming to a new team, especially from a team that is one of your main rivals,” said Stevenson. “It will be interesting, but I’m excited about the change. When I was a free agent this would have been one of my top picks anyway to try to play for, and they were interested in me so it worked out really well.”


Turner Stevenson tied a career high with 27 points in 2003-04

Stevenson is likely to play the same role in Philadelphia he played so well in New Jersey, as a third or fourth line winger who is relied upon to police the ice, deliver the big hit, pester the opposition, kill penalties and occasionally drop the gloves. He can, however, also contribute offensively and matched his best year when he registered 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points in 61 games in 2003-04.

Flyers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock also has an idea as to what Stevenson will bring to the table, having seen him for the past couple of years in the red and black.

“I’ve known Turner for a very long time. He’s a very dependable, team-oriented player,” said Hitchcock. “He’s a player that has played on championship teams, he knows his role, he’s very good at it and he’s excellent at killing penalties. He contributes to the team in every area. He’s an honest and hard-working player.”

Stevenson is among a group of veterans that have already arrived at the Flyers’ training facility more than two weeks before the beginning of training camp. With the year off, and with all of the new faces, the players recognize that coming together quickly as a team will be of utmost importance for the beginning of the regular season on October 5.

As a member of the Devils’ Stanley Cup teams in 2000 and 2003, Stevenson knows what it takes for a roster of 22 players to come together and become a championship-caliber group.

“It’s great to say we have a great team on paper, he said. “We have great players on paper, but if you don’t mix in together and become one unit, that is the biggest part about winning and being on a winning team that I have been on. It’s all about the guys coming together and being a close knit group, not just individual talent.

“We’ve got a good team here. They made some great moves and we have to come together as a team and get it done on the ice.”

FLYERS NOTES
The only regulars who are not at the Flyers’ training facility as of Wednesday morning include Kim Johnsson, Michal Handzus, Branko Radivojevic, Mike Knuble and Peter Forsberg. Everyone else is either skating or working out. … While the players are preparing for camp, Ken Hitchcock and his coaching staff of Wayne Fleming and Terry Murray have been meeting as well. The Phantoms coaching staff of John Stevens, Kjell Samuelsson and Craig Berube are also in on the meetings. Coaches are not allowed on the ice with the players until the beginning of training camp.

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Discussion Starter #71
Lockout to add year to Hitch's pact

Lockout adds year to Hitchcock's pact

By Tim Panaccio

Inquirer Staff Writer

Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock is supposed to be in the final year of his four-year contract when the National Hockey League returns this fall.

However, according to club chairman Ed Snider, there is a provision in Hitchcock's contract stipulating that a year missed because of a work stoppage would "roll over" to the next year.

Last season was wiped out by the lockout, so Hitchcock automatically gets another year added to his deal, extending him to 2006-07.

Snider, however, wouldn't mind seeing Hitchcock tied up longer. "We want Hitchcock to be here for a long time," he said yesterday. "I have not focused on this just yet, but it is something we need to take care of. I want to sit down with [general manager] Bob Clarke and Hitch and talk about this. We think Hitchcock is the best coach in hockey, and we want him around."

Hitchcock said that he's not worried about his contract status and that it would take care of itself. His current deal is worth $4.4 million overall.

Loose pucks. Given that there may be as many as 10 new players, including one returnee in Chris Therien, in the dressing room who weren't there in May 2004, when the playoffs ended, the Flyers have strategically placed their key younger players next to new veteran acquisitions: Patrick Sharp will sit next to Peter Forsberg, Jeff Carter next to Eric Desjardins, Mike Richards next to Keith Primeau, R.J. Umberger next to Mike Rathje, and Joni Pitkanen next to Derian Hatcher... . Physicals are Sept. 12. Camp opens the next day... . Former Flyers assistant coach E.J. McGuire was named director of NHL Central Scouting yesterday.

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Discussion Starter #72
Stevenson, Flyers breaking the ice

Stevenson, Flyers breaking the ice

By ED MORAN

[email protected]

Watching Turner Stevenson chatting with Robert Esche after an hour of pickup hockey, it looked like they have been teammates for months.

While that would be technically true, Stevenson signed with the Flyers following the 2003-04 season, they are just getting to know each other.

The season-long NHL lockout kept Stevenson and Mike Knuble, who also signed that offseason, from pulling on a Flyers' practice jersey.

But now that hockey is back, Stevenson is getting to meet the people with whom he will spend the majority of his time in the coming 10 months.

"The only guys I knew before this are [Donald] Brashear and [Eric] Desjardins," the former New Jersey Devil said. "Other than that, it's just all guys I've played against."

Stevenson and most of the Flyers and Phantoms have been skating together every morning since last week at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees, N.J., working on getting in game shape before the start of training camp a week from Monday.

And one of the more important factors, other than getting used to skating again, is meeting new teammates.

When the Flyers take the ice in the season opener on Oct. 5 against the Rangers in the Wachovia Center, there will be up to 12 new faces. Big names and familiar faces are gone, including Jeremy Roenick, Mark Recchi and John LeClair.

They have been replaced with equally big names, but unfamiliar faces, including Peter Forsberg, Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje. Stevenson and Knuble, even though they signed a year ago, also will be among those new faces.

Knuble is due in next week along with Forsberg, Hatcher, Simon Gagne, Michal Handzus and Branko Radivojevic.

"Coming in after a lengthy lockout, it's exciting," Stevenson said. "We've got a good team, we've made some great moves, and we just have to come together as a team and get it done on the ice.

"I knew there was going to be some decent changes with the [salary-] cap situation, most teams had to get under the cap and make moves that way, but the Flyers have made some great moves and I'm excited to be around."

And it's easy to see that he is not alone.

It might just be that they are happy to have their game back, but it doesn't hurt that the Flyers have put together a roster that, on paper, should be a favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

"I think the most important thing [coming into camp] is everybody getting their legs going, playing together, getting timing, I think that's crucial for the start of the season," Rathje said.

"It's nice being here and once I get my family here it will be better. It's a new environment. I've been in San Jose for so long, but I like it here so far. It's exciting, there are expectations and everything, which is different and I'm looking forward to the season's start.

"I had about five teams that I picked that I wanted to go and play for, and the Flyers were the only team in the East that I wanted to play for. I was really excited when they called and I was really happy that they made a big commitment to me and my family, so I'm happy to be here."

One Flyer who has been around for a while, but nearly missed out on the chance to play for this new team is Sami Kapanen. Following the run to the seventh game of the 2004 Eastern Conference finals, Kapanen was beat up and ready to call it quits.

He went as far as to tell general manager Bob Clarke that he was retiring. Clarke urged him to take his time with his decision and let the effects of the big hits Kapanen took during the playoffs wear off before committing to retirement.

"He told me that it might be fun for a little while being out, but being that young and retiring, I might regret it," Kapanen said. "I had made my decision and I was pretty serious that this was the final call. But as that summer went on my body told me to go out and work out and once I started working out, I felt like, 'Why would I just work out for fun?' "

So how does he feel about that now?

"You know how happy I am that I didn't retire seeing the signings," he said. "Obviously we lost some good players but this franchise every year does what it takes to give the team a chance.

"I was happy with Rathje, and Hatcher and [Chris] Therien signings, but out of the blue they signed Forsberg and it just tells you how much they care and how badly they want to win.

"It's going to be fun. It's been fun already just getting together here. Everybody is pushing each other, especially this week, now that we've been scrimmaging. We're trying to take care of the new guys and make them feel comfortable.

"I know how it feels to come to a new team and I want to make them feel at home in any way possible."

Snap shots

Unrestricted free-agent sniper Peter Bondra is still on the market and recent rumors had him choosing between the Flyers and New Jersey. But yesterdayBob Clarke said the Flyers are not interested.

"[Ritchie Winter, Bondra's agent] called about 2 weeks ago and said he was still available. But I told him we weren't interested," Clarke said.


Daily News
 

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Discussion Starter #73
Ragnarrson article from Sweden



Almtuna for now - Djurgården after Christmas

Former Philadelphia defenseman Marcus Ragnarsson, 34, is something of Djurgården. (Doesn't translate well)

And Sportbladet can disclose that he will become a player for Djurgarden - after Christmas. I want to play the autumn in Almtuna. Then I and Djurgården will have a talk, says he to Sportbladet.

Marcus Ragnarsson has had several inquiries from NHL, but the 34 year old has decided to stay at home and consistently has said no to all contract proposals from North america. Instead, he has select to play for Premier Division Almtuna.

I feel good and I have assured the club that I will be there until Christmas. We shall see. I want to look around at other clubs (I'm probably reaching here), says Marcus Ragnarsson.

Urgent back needs
Djurgården - is in urgent needs of defensemen - the team has contacted him several times during the fall..
- I have spoken twice with Challe (Berglund) and also with their club director (Tommy Engström). We talked and I have not closed any doors, says Marcus Ragnarsson.

Attractive?
- Yes, it's a little attractive.

Concurrent will the become incredible kul to play with Almtuna. The becomes safe little individual to play in Bofors instead for New york, but the exists an allure with the also. Don't know?W

Will you come back to the NHL
- I will miss the games, but it's better that I get away now if I want to come back later

Tired of traveling. That is history for me now. I will stay in Sweden.
So the can become the top division in the future?

- Not at all impossible. I and Djurgården will hold the contact during the winter and since may one see where that leads to.

Patrik Thornéus
Published: 2005-09-01

Aftonbladet
 

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Discussion Starter #74
Oilers Smyth would be a good fit for the Flyers

By Tim Panaccio

Inquirer Columnist

Ryan Smyth wants a three-year deal to remain with Edmonton.

The Flyers want to lose a center and gain a winger - and Michal Handzus figures to be the odd man out if the Flyers trade another center.

Such a deal would make sense.

General manager Bob Clarke has long coveted Smyth, who has yet to sign his one-year qualifying offer of $2.7 million. Handzus will earn $2.1 million this season and next.

Handzus' salary fits better into the Oilers' payroll scheme; the club is trying to lose salary since signing Chris Pronger to a five-year, $31.2 million contract and then adding Michael Peca, who will earn $3.9 million this season.

According to the Edmonton Journal, Smyth wants a deal that averages $4 million. He won't get that from Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, but he could get it from Clarke next year.

Either way, this deal makes sense for the Flyers, even though it means adding to the payroll, which stands at $37.1 million. The Flyers would pick up just $600,000 - if the team could persuade Smyth to take the one-year qualifier with a promise of a long-term deal.

It likely would take more than Handzus to complete the deal, but not a lot more.

"Ryan has spent his whole career there in the midst of the club downsizing," one NHL scout said. "Now they've done something in the off-season to actually help him out. It should be interesting to see how he handles that."

Smyth would give the Flyers an offensive push and much needed grit on the wing. It's no coincidence Smyth was on Team Canada's World Championship roster and likely will make the Olympic cut, as well. He's leadership material.

Plus, he would look good in orange and black.

An awkward situation

Highly touted youngsters Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby both are property of the Penguins but while Crosby is already in Pittsburgh, Malkin remains in Russia - much to the Penguins' disappointment - to get more experience.

The bigger reason, though, is that the Russians refused to sign the transfer agreement that allows players to leave permanently for the NHL.

Pat Brisson, one of the most respected agents in hockey, represents both players and has landed in an awkward situation because Crosby benefits by Malkin's absence. That's not Brisson's fault, but it's reality.

For Malkin's staying in Russia actually strengthens Crosby's ability to go unchallenged - at least among the Penguins - for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

If Crosby and Malkin played together this season, it's entirely possible they'd cancel each other out in the Calder race.

As for the roadblock, credit the Penguins for refusing to negotiate Malkin's contract release individually, which is what the Russian Hockey League wants.

Penguins GM Craig Patrick never would be party to blackmail, which is what the Russian Hockey League now is trying to do across the board with players.

Hockey enforcers

The next time a Canadian hockey purist berates an American about the thugs in the NHL and points to Donald Brashear of the Flyers, remind them of last week's "Battle of Hockey Enforcers," a trash sporting event of the lowest common denominator that took place in Prince George, British Columbia. People paid between $35 and $200 to watch minor-leaguers and professional wannabes slug it out on the ice. Others paid $24.95 on pay-per-view. Dean Mayrand, 27, from Windsor, Ontario, won the $62,000 grand prize as the last man standing. This is exactly the kind of goonery hockey doesn't need. That it took place in Canada is even more disgusting. Fortunately, it didn't take place at the Wachovia Center or Flyers fans would never hear the end of it in chat rooms.

Quotable

Mike Ricci, talking to the Associated Press about how he never liked new teammate Shane Doan as an opponent when Ricci played in San Jose. Now that the two are together in Phoenix? "Now that I've met him? You know, you take away his skills and the way he plays, his tenacity and all that and his leadership, he's a very good guy. I feel bad that I hated him so much the last few years."

Inky
 

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Discussion Starter #75
Forsberg checking in with new mates

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
By ADAM KIMELMAN
Staff Writer

VOORHEES - While most of his new teammates have spent the last week or two on the ice, Peter Forsberg said he's not quite ready to jump out there with them.

He said he got enough skating in over the summer while working out at home in Sweden. And with training camp starting a week from today, he said he'd rather save his shifts for when they count.

After arriving in town over the weekend, he stopped at Skate Zone yesterday, spending time with Kim Johnsson and Simon Gagne, among others.

Those are just some of the new faces he'll be getting to know over the next few weeks.

"Just getting to know each other, with the new rules, the new ice surface, it's good for us to get playing as soon as we possibly can to get to know each other," he said.

His new teammates feel the same way.

"I think everyone here is excited about that," said Turner Stevenson, another of the new faces in the locker room. "Everyone in the room knows how great a player he is. . . . When he's healthy, he's definitely one of the top players in the league."

Gagne will get to learn up close just how good Forsberg is. Going into camp, Gagne will play left wing on the team's top line, centered by Forsberg. Rookie Jeff Carter likely will play right wing.

"I'm looking forward to having a chance to play with him and show what we can do," Gagne said of skating with Forsberg. "If I have a chance to play with him, it's going to help me bring my game to where I want it to be."

Besides his remarkable on-ice ability, Forsberg also brings the experience of having won a pair of Stanley Cups during his time in Denver.

"(Flyers general manager Bob) Clarke has brought in a couple guys who have won the Cup," Forsberg said. "(Derian) Hatcher won it before, the head coach (Ken Hitchcock) has won it before, I've won it, and a few other guys. It's good to bring some experienced guys that know what it takes to win. Hopefully we players who have won it before can show the guys what it takes to win."

And after 10 years with the Colorado franchise, Forsberg said he was excited by the challenge of winning in a new place, especially one so desperate as the title-starved Delaware Valley.

"There's always pressure here to win," he said. "(The Flyers) always have a good team and they make an effort to win every year. I think it's a good kind of pressure."

NJ.com
 

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Discussion Starter #76
Carter, Richards excited to face Pens, Crosby

Cross-state rivalry bound to intensify in 2005-06

by Kevin Kurz, philadelphiaflyers.com

Voorhees, NJ – When the NHL bosses decided that every team would face its division rivals eight times apiece during the regular season, it meant that many rivalries would be renewed and even intensified. While the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins have been on opposite ends of the Atlantic Division standings the past couple of seasons and the games not as competitive as previous years, that is all about to change.

Not only has Pittsburgh added former longtime Flyers Mark Recchi and John LeClair, but also there is another less obvious competition among former teammates that will take shape.

Flyers rookies Jeff Carter and Mike Richards and Penguins rookie and first overall draft choice of 2005 Sidney Crosby were all a part of the gold-medal winning World Junior Championship team of 2005, representing Canada. Carter registered 10 points in six games, including seven goals, which tied him for first in the tournament. Richards, the team captain, posted five points (1G, 4A) while Crosby finished with nine (6G, 3A).

All three stood out as world-class players who were ready to make an impact at the NHL level.

While it has been Crosby getting all of the attention from the national media ever since draft day (and even before), Carter and Richards have been praised as well as, being part of the next class of potential superstars, although not nearly as much as Crosby.

“I kind of like flying under the radar, to be honest,” said Carter. “I’m not too worried about all that, because [Crosby] deserves everything that he’s got so far.”

“He’s a really good player, and a good kid off the ice,” said Richards. “He’s really serious with hockey, and takes everything very seriously. You learn a lot of stuff from him just being around him, being on the ice and being around him in the dressing room.”

One advantage that Carter and Richards have over Crosby is pro experience. Carter spent the end of the last two seasons playing with the Phantoms, while Richards came on at the end of last season as the two helped the Flyers’ AHL affiliate capture the Calder Cup Championship. Carter led the league in postseason points with 23 (12G, 11A) in 21 games and Richards added 15 points (7G, 8A) in 14 games.

Crosby has yet to play a pro game on any level.

“It was huge,” said Carter of his time with the Phantoms. “Last year, just getting to know the pro game and getting familiar with the guys was a big part of it. It just makes it so much easier to come in and get settled.
Sidney Crosby will face the Flyers for the first time on Oct. 14 at the Wachovia Center.

“Getting a little bit of pro hockey under your belt really helps,” said Richards. “I think last year playing 15 games in the playoffs where it’s that much faster; hopefully I can roll that experience over into this year.”

They also have the benefit of being with one another every step of the way since they were both drafted by the Flyers in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

“We have been going through the same things over the past couple weeks and even years, and throwing ideas around each other,” said Richards. “Last year, winning the Calder Cup together brings us together a little bit more, but it’s nice to have a guy around who goes through similar situations as you are.”

Regardless of the fact that the pair does have that extra experience, as well being two years older than Crosby, both acknowledge the fact that a friendly, yet intense, rivalry is a good bet to happen – and fairly quickly. The Penguins come to Philadelphia for the first game between the teams on October 14 as the Flyers’ fourth game of the season. The teams will play one another four times before Christmas.

Richards remains close friends with Crosby and welcomes the challenge, but knows that once the puck drops, it is all about getting the “W.”

“I’ve talked to Sid a couple times over the past few months and we discussed it a little bit. It’s going to be fun. I think you always look forward to playing against a guy like that, because you know what he can do.

“He’s obviously a great player, and our friendship is pretty good, but on the ice it’s all business.”

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I wonder if they are going to try and lay out a few hits on each other, :haha: kind of like the way players hit each other in the all-star game. I remember one all-star game Tkachuk knocked Roenick on his A$$ then they laughed about it later. This is going to be a great rivalry. :wavetowel
 

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Discussion Starter #78
Simon says leadership: Gagne has bigger role

Thursday, September 08, 2005
By ADAM KIMELMAN
Staff Writer

When Simon Gagne looks around the Flyers' locker room at Skate Zone in Voorhees, it's who he doesn't see that stands out to him.

No Mark Recchi. No John LeClair. No Jeremy Roenick. No Tony Amonte.

All veteran team leaders. All players expected to perform on the ice. All go-to guys when the media invaded after games and practices.

During his previous five seasons, Gagne sat quietly in his own little spot while other people dealt with the high expectations and the daily deluge of inquiries that went with them.

But Gagne isn't the skinny 19-year-old rookie who debuted with the Flyers in 1999. Taking off his sweater and pads after a scrimmage on Monday revealed a chiseled, 6-foot, 198-pound 25-year-old.

The new look compliments a new attitude. Rather than come and go quietly, Gagne said he's the guy who wants to be held accountable not just for his play, but for the results of the team.

"I can't be the kid under the radar. I have to take a little more responsibility than I did before," he said. "And I'm ready to do that. It's going to be a great challenge to put that extra pressure on myself."

It's a challenge first laid out by coach Ken Hitchcock after the 2004 playoffs ended.

"I think there's a certain stage in a player's career where they want more," Hitchcock said. "They want more responsibilities, they want to be a go-to guy, and he's at that point. He wants it now. Some guys don't want it.

"It's overwhelming at times, but he wants it."

Stints at Team Canada camps over the last few years have given Gagne the chance to watch and learn from established veterans. He said longtime Colorado captain Joe Sakic especially made an impact.

"You look at what he's doing before practice, what he's doing after practice," Gagne said. "I went to talk to him a few times and asked him what he's doing, and he's doing a lot of leg press and squats before practice. He said it feels like his legs are stronger when the games go on. That's something I would like to try this year."

Besides the national-team camps, Gagne said seeing all the new faces in the Flyers' locker room has given him the incentive to step up all facets of his play.

"This year it has to be a big season for myself and the Flyers, too," he said. "With the new guys we have, I have to (step up). That's my goal this year; I want to be one of the top players on the team."

Hearing Gagne say he wants a bigger bite of the leadership apple is just what team captain Keith Primeau was expecting to hear. Considering Gagne's six seasons with the Flyers is the third-longest on the team - behind only defensemen Eric Desjardins and Chris Therien - Primeau believes it's Gagne's time to step forward.

"I just sense with Simon he's ready to take on a bigger part of the leadership, the responsibility, be more important in the core situations, being a guy that when things don't go well, some of it should fall on his shoulders," Primeau said. "That comes with experience, age, maturity, personal self-confidence. Right now, he's carrying all those attributes with him." With the post-lockout rule changes and the opportunity to play on a line centered by Peter Forsberg, Gagne is primed to have his best season since posting career-highs of 33 goals and 66 points in 2001-02.

"I'm looking forward to having a chance to play with him and show what we can do," Gagne said. "If I have a chance to play with him, it's going to help me bring my game to where I want it to be."

-- -- --

The Flyers' charity game to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts will be 7 p.m. on Sunday at Skate Zone in Voorhees.

Tickets cost $10. Fans also will be able to bid for autographed sticks, and have their picture taken with their favorite Flyer and Phantom.

NOTE:

Contact Adam Kimelman at [email protected].

NJ.com

Primeau -- Captain
Gagne, Forsberg, Hatcher -- Alternate captains
 

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Discussion Starter #79
Forsberg gets a look at Philly

By Tim Panaccio

Inquirer Staff Writer

Keith Jones and Peter Forsberg were standing outside the Capital Grille on Broad Street last weekend when four tourists, with cameras, walked by.

"This guy stops dead in his tracks and says to the group, 'That's Peter Forsberg,' " Jones recalled. "The look on his face - you'd have thought he had just seen the President or something."

Forsberg smiled broadly when asked whether he was recognized over the Labor Day weekend.

"I was walking around with Keith Jones, and I don't know if they recognized him or me," Forsberg said, laughing.

Jones, a former teammate of Forsberg's in Colorado and now a commentator for Comcast SportsNet, took the Flyers' newest center on a quick tour of Old City, Center City and Rittenhouse Square, where Forsberg is thinking of living. They also hit a few other spots - 32 Degrees, the Continental, and Swanky Bubbles.

"We went to some places, and from what I hear, this is a great sports town," Forsberg said. "People seem to be happy to see hockey back."

Jones wishes that more of the Flyers - all of whom live in South Jersey - would spend more time enjoying the city.

"I always thought that part of playing in Philly was being in Philadelphia," Jones said. "It's nice to see players hanging around downtown. They don't get to do it much during the season. In Peter's case, because he was a visiting player, the only part of the city he ever saw was his hotel.

"The impression I got this weekend was that he really liked what he saw in downtown. He seemed to enjoy the city."

Learning experience. Selected rookies and young players have been seated next to veterans in the Flyers' dressing room at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, Camden County, where the team has been working out.

It's no coincidence that defenseman Joni Pitkanen has been seated next to another defender, the veteran Derian Hatcher.

"We want players who are playing together on the ice to also be near each other in the room, where possible," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Joni will be playing with Derian, so he's sitting beside him."

Loose pucks. The Flyers will have four alternate captains this season, rotating two players at home and two on the road. Look for Hatcher, Forsberg and probably forward Simon Gagne, who has been moved to Hitchcock's leadership group, to wear A's... . Individual tickets for the Flyers' home preseason games - Sept. 24 vs. Washington, Sept. 27 vs. the New York Islanders, and Sept. 29 vs. New Jersey - will go on sale at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Wachovia Center box office and all Ticketmaster locations. Buyers also can call Ticketmaster at 215-336-2000 and 570-693-4100 in Pennsylvania, 856-338-9000 in New Jersey, or 302-984-2000 in Delaware.

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Discussion Starter #80
Sticks, pucks and name tags

By ED MORAN

[email protected]

THE NEIGHBORHOOD has changed.

Above the stall that John LeClair called home seemingly forever hangs the name Mike Knuble. Two stalls down, under the plate that read Mark Recchi, sits Turner Stevenson.

Jon Sim resides where Jeremy Roenick held court every day during the past three hockey seasons. Mike Richards has Tony Amonte's old locker. Antero Niittymaki has taken over for Sean Burke. Derian Hatcher has moved in where Marcus Ragnarsson moved out, and the new neighbor who has everybody intrigued, Peter Forsberg, has the stall that Danny Markov occupied.

There are other new names: Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, Mike Rathje and Chris Therien - the most recent expatriate returned. All are mixed in with those who were Flyers before the lockout closed the NHL for an entire season and forced nearly every team to undergo a makeover.

For the past 2 weeks the new neighbors have been moving in, one at a time, shaking hands and getting to know each other in preparation for the start of training camp Monday morning in Voorhees, N.J.

What was once a usually loud and jovial locker room is today a reserved block of people waiting to see what personality will emerge.

"There's a lot of new guys, and it's important getting the team together and getting to know each other and the new rules and the ice surface," said Forsberg, who arrived this week.

"It's good for us to get playing as soon as we possibly can to get to know each other. It's going to be important. A lot of teams are going to be experiencing this, a lot of teams have new faces. A lot of guys moved around the league this year.

"We have to get to know each other and get the feel for each other to know what we're doing on the ice. I was in Denver [with the Avalanche] for a long time and I played with the same guys for a long time. It's going to be new; we have a new lineup. But we have good guys, too, and it's going to be easy, I think, to get it going."

But what will the personality be like?

"I don't know, actually, what the room will be like. I guess we'll have to wait and see when the season starts," said veteran defenseman Kim Johnsson, who returned from Sweden last week to rejoin the team.

"Of course, we lost a couple of great guys, but at the same time we got some good guys, too. We'll have to wait and see how this thing is going to unfold."

How indeed?

For that is the question of Flyers training camp 2005.

When the players report for physicals Monday morning, the official start of training camp, the biggest task facing coach Ken Hitchcock and his staff is not going to be who makes the team, but how it comes together.

If he had to, Hitchcock could write the names of his starting 20 right now. It is not likely to change over the course of the 3-week camp.

Sure, there will be some long looks at prospects not yet tagged to start the season with the Flyers, forwards like Umberger, Ben Eager and Stefan Ruzicka, and defensemen Randy Jones and Freddy Meyer. But that only will be to see who can be plugged in when injuries occur.

As far as a traditional training camp, this one is going to be short and sweet. The Flyers will play their first preseason game against Atlanta on Sept. 17, and the team that goes to London, Ontario, for that exhibition will be the one that takes the ice opening night, give or take a player or two.

When they return from Ontario, the real task of training camp will begin - taking these new faces and personalities and making them happy neighbors. In other words, taking 11 or 12 new players, mixing them with the 12 who were here when the last season ended and making them a team.

There will be lots of meetings and team-building, including a day of learning how to row eight-oared boats on the Schuylkill and a trip to West Point to practice.

It's all about chemistry, chemistry, chemistry.

"We have to start with the assumption that there is no chemistry right away," Hitchcock said. "We have to think in terms of every player is just getting to know each other. We can't afford to wait till the end of training camp to do that.''

Of course, there will be some of the familiar aspects of camp: scrimmages, minor league players included; systems being taught; and lines and defensive pairings tested.

Veteran defensemen will be paired with rookies, and Joni Pitkanen will be moved from the left to the right side.

Among the forwards, top prospects Carter and Richards and other young players like Sharp and Radivojevic will be mixed in with the veterans to see what clicks.

As for the goaltending, for the first time in his NHL career, Robert Esche will begin the year as the starter. He will be pressured by Niittymaki, who had an outstanding season with the Phantoms, winning playoff MVP honors as the team won the Calder Cup.

Esche knows his competition with Niittymaki will bring pressure, but no more than will come with having one of the best rosters in the Eastern Conference, if not the league.

"Everybody knows we're expected to win and we need to make sure we live up to that once training camp happens," Esche said.

But chemistry and leadership first.

Recchi and LeClair were assistant captains and members of Hitchcock's leadership group. They will have to be replaced, and guys like Simon Gagne, once a kid who, in the words of his coach, "has been able to fly under the radar," will be expected to mature into a top player and a team leader on and off the ice.

"[The locker room] feels different, for sure," Gagne said. "We've been with those guys for a long time and we're used to seeing the same faces every morning, and it's tough to not see those guys. But the new faces we have are going to be a great mix. Right now I like what I see.

"For sure this has to be a big season for myself and for the Flyers, too. I'm not in my first year anymore. I've been in the playoffs a couple of times and right now with the new guys we have, I have to take the next step. I want to be one of the top players on the team, that's my goal this year, I want to be a different player than I was 2 years ago."

That's the kind of talk Hitchcock wants to hear. But he also knows the real job of bringing the locker room together will fall in large part to his captain, Keith Primeau.

"It's important that we get those guys up to speed as quick as possible as far as systems and what [Hitchcock] demands of the players, and the quicker we can do that the quicker we move forward,'' Primeau said.

"And that's going to be the responsibility of the guys that were in the locker room, to get those guys on page and on board as quick as possible. It's changed my role.

"I've got to make sure everybody, everyone, feels comfortable with what's being asked as far as assignment and roles, and everybody feels comfortable with the guys they are going to be surrounded by for the next 10 months."

Game for charity

Because of an overwhelming demand for tickets to the Flyers' hurricane relief charity game scheduled for Sunday evening, tickets are going to go on sale a day early.

The game, at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Skate Zone. The general-admission tickets are $10.

The game will be played with players from both the Flyers and Phantoms. Following the game, signed sticks will be auctioned off. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.


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