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Roger Neilson


C - Eric Lindros, Rod Brind'Amour, Marc Bureau, Mike Sillinger, Dainius Zubrus. LW - John LeClair, Colin Forbes, Chris Gratton, Dan Kordic, Shjon Podein, Valeri Zelepukin. RW - Alexandre Daigle, Jody Hull, Mike Maneluk. D - Dave Babych, Ryan Bast, Andy Delmore, Eric Desjardins, Dan McGillis, Luke Richardson, Petr Svoboda, Chris Therien, Dmitri Tertyshny. G - Ron Hextall, John Vanbiesbrouck.


Valeri Zelepukin, lw (sprained shoulder, day to day), Colin Forbes, lw (sprained thumb, day to day).


Recalled Ryan Bast, d, and Andy Delmore, d, from the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL). Returned Ryan Bast, d, and Andy Delmore, d, to the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL).


10/27 St. Louis      W 2-1
10/29 at Ottawa      L 3-1
10/31 at Islanders   L 3-2
11/01 Ottawa         L 5-4
11/03 at Pittsburgh  T 4-4
11/07 Buffalo        T 4-4


Atlantic Division   GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA   
  New Jersey        12   7   5   0    14   25   26   
  NY Islanders      14   7   7   0    14   34   35   
  Philadelphia      14   5   5   4    14   34   33   
  Pittsburgh        12   5   3   4    14   32   32   
  NY Rangers        13   3   6   4    10   24   36


by Chuck Michio, Philadelphia Correspondent

Old-time hockey fans probably remember the wicked two-handed slash Bobby Clarke used to bludgeon Russian superstar Valeri Kharlamov right out of the Canada-Soviet Summit Series back in 1972. Well, that's apparently nothing compared to what he'd like to do to some of the current Flyers.

"Some players take shortcuts in practice," Clarke recently told the Philly media. "I think we should demand more of them. Maybe we're taking it too easy on them."

Clarke often means more than he says. And words like those are usually followed by swift action. Call me crazy, but I can picture Alex Daigle, Chris Gratton, and Dainius Zubrus being ordered off to anal electrocution therapy as I type this.

In an even funnier conversation, Clarke recently responded to questions about a rumored impending Daigle trade with a quizzical look and the classic response, "Who would want him?"

For 15 wonderful seasons, Clarke solved all the Flyers problems with a stick. Maybe it's time for him to give it another try.

Incredibly, the Flyers' skid has resulted in rumors that yet another coaching change is on the horizon. The new whispers have Phantoms coach Bill Barber or Neilson's assistant Craig Ramsay taking over if the team fails to show marked improvement by the holidays.

Rumors are what they are, but I think there may be some truth in this one. Seasoned Flyers observers know that when Clarke is on the warpath, heads are going to roll. Maybe this makes him the new George Steinbrenner of hockey, but at least he looks a little less disgusting in a zebra-skin thong.

If the coaching change rumors are true, here's hoping that Clarke pins the tail on Billy Barber this time. Barber's success with the Phantoms is proof that he's more than just a name guy. And his "bad cop" style might be just what this mistake-prone bunch needs to snap out of their stupor.

Interestingly enough, Clarke isn't the only one finding fault with the Flyers work habits in practice. Eric Desjardins, one of the few Flyers who can actually claim to have seen the Stanley Cup, had even harsher words for his teammates' work habits.

"I've always believed for years that you play like you practice," Desjardins said. "It's like golf, if you're on a practice green and putt some balls and don't think about it. Then when you get into a game with a five-foot shot you haven't practiced, you can't focus. We have to learn to practice like it's a game situation. But that is not easy. It doesn't come naturally to everybody. Sometimes, we just go with the flow."

Gee, think the good vibrations that emanated from the Flyers' fast start have started to wear off a little?

Fortunately, somnambulant team captain Eric Lindros was quick to respond with a typically confidence-inspiring quote about everything being "fine." Wow. I feel much better now. Sic' em, Clarkie!

Although the Flyers recently banished Mike Maneluk to the pressbox for a couple games, it looks as though they're going to give the speedy newcomer a legitimate chance to stick with the first line. Since the two-game hiatus, Maneluk has looked much more comfortable, recording two goals and three assists in his first three games back. Two of those assists came on nice backhand feeds to Eric Lindros, who's been an unabashed supporter of the rookie right winger.

The news is far less happy on other fronts. Like Old Yeller, the "Dog Line" of Chris Gratton, Alexandre Daigle, and Dainius Zubrus was finally taken to the shed and shot. Daigle was banished to the pressbox for the Buffalo game, leaving poor Mike Sillinger the impossible task of invigorating Alex's goalless linemates. And what was Sillinger's reward for setting both of them up for numerous good chances? No points and a minus-2 rating. I'll bet that a return to the fourth line never sounded so good to him.

Hopefully some of the lineup shifting will result in some more scoring balance. Since the last issue of LCS hit the Net, all Flyers not named Lindros, LeClair, or Brind'Amour have scored a grand total of six goals. Ron Flockhart, where are you?

The recent rash of injuries to the Flyers' defense contributed mightily to their recent skid, but at least one positive emerged. Rookie call-up Andy Delmore showed considerable promise filling in on the blue line. Paired mostly with Chris Therien, Delmore logged more than 20 minutes of ice time in some games and showed big-league poise.

"I think Delmore, in particular, has shown that he could probably play in the NHL right now," Neilson said. "He has a good shot. He anticipates well, he passes well, and moves the puck out."

A Luke Richardson trade could open up a spot for Delmore. Rumor has it that Richardson may be paired with one of the Flyers underachieving forwards in a deal for a scorer.

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