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Roger Neilson


C - Rod Brind'Amour, Marc Bureau, , Daymond Langkow, Eric Lindros. LW - Colin Forbes, Dan Kordic, John LeClair, Roman Vopat, Valeri Zelepukin. RW - Alexandre Daigle, Jody Hull, Keith Jones, Mikael Renberg, Dainius Zubrus. D - Dave Babych, Ryan Bast, Andy Delmore, Eric Desjardins, Dan McGillis, Luke Richardson, Petr Svoboda, Chris Therien, Dmitri Tertyshny. G - Ron Hextall, John Vanbiesbrouck.


Jody Hull, rw (concussion, day to day),Petr Svoboda, d (neck, day to day), Chris Therien, d (thigh bruise, day to day).


Obtained Mikael Renberg, rw, and Daymond Langkow, c, from Tampa Bay in exchange for Chris Gratton, lw, and Mike Sillinger, c.


12/08 at New Jersey  T 5-5
12/10 New Jersey     L 5-4 OT
12/12 at Toronto     W 3-0
12/13 Edmonton       T 2-2
12/17 Calgary        T 3-3
12/19 Chicago        W 3-1
12/20 Tampa Bay      T 2-2


Atlantic Division   GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA 
  New Jersey        30  18   8   4    40   90   76 
  Philadelphia      31  14   9   8    36   86   70   
  Pittsburgh        29  13   9   7    33   83   80   
  NY Rangers        31  11  13   7    29   84   86  
  NY Islanders      32  12  19   1    25   79   93


by Chuck Michio, Philadelphia Correspondent

Well, the Flyers-Devils home-and-home results are in, and while one Flyers point out of four is about par for the course, there are reasons to be encouraged.

For one, Philly finally proved they can score against their ugly, mutated cousins from North Jersey. The nine goals they produced in the series were more than enough for a pair of victories, but shoddy goaltending, particularly by John Vanbiesbrouck in the first game, doomed the Flyers to a tie and a loss.

The Flyers can also take heart from the way they rallied after inserting Ron Hextall in Vanbiesbrouck's place in the first game. In the past, third-period Devil leads seemed more insurmountable than the Viet Cong, but some plucky play by the Flyers helped turn a certain game one loss into a "good" tie.

Of course, there are also reasons to believe that nothing much has changed. For starters, it's possible that the Flyers sudden offensive explosion against New Jersey was a mirage. Many of their goals were the result of horrific play by Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. For whatever reason, Brodeur has looked more like Martin Short against Philly this season, displaying more holes than Al Pacino's character at the end of "Scarface."

The Flyers scrambly play in the third period of the second game is another cause for concern. Not only did the boys in orange and black fritter away a victory by allowing an uncontested tap-in rebound goal in the final minutes of regulation, they compounded the offense by allowing the OT game-winner on a flurry of shots that forced Ron Hextall to face more rubber than a Saigon hooker. With those types of breakdowns becoming more and more frequent, Roger Neilson's "defensive genius" status is definitely in jeopardy.

Speaking of third periods, the Flyers late meltdown in the second New Jersey game marked the first time all season they blew a lead in the final stanza of a game. Prior to that ugly mishap, they were a perfect 8-0 in that situation.

But the New Jersey goof may have marked the opening of Pandora's box. Since that game, they've yacked three more third-period leads, turning potential wins against Edmonton and pitiful Calgary and Tampa Bay teams into ugly ties. The Tampa Bay tie was particularly galling since the tying goal featured an assist by none-other than the just-deposed king of the Flyers underachievers Chris Gratton himself. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Obviously, Bobby Clarke has been changing players the way most people change their underwear lately. By the way, that's most people I'm talking about. At LCS, we don't embrace the conventional wisdom regarding underwear. We generally wear it once, turn it inside out, wear it again, and then repeat as necessary, depending on the size of the laundry pile of course. But I digress.

The latest name from the rumor mill is that of Sandis Ozolinsh, Colorado Avalanche malcontent extraordinaire. And for once, we have a rumor that makes sense. Ozolinsh could finally give the Flyers a top-notch pointman for the power play, a role that Eric Desjardins, Paul Coffey, Janne Niinimaa, and now Ryan McGillis have tried to play without much success.

Obviously, the asking price for Ozolinsh is probably pretty high, meaning that any Ozolinsh deal would probably include multiple players, most likely Dainius Zubrus, Luke Richardson, and possibly one of the Flyers prized goaltending prospects.

If that doesn't seem like all that much to give up, consider this. Ozolinsh would only add one more unsteady hand to a defense that already manages to self-destruct with alarming regularity. Then again, at least he can skate backwards. That's more than you can say about Richardson, who recently cost the Flyers a tie with Edmonton when he fell down trying to retrieve the puck behind the net in the game's final minute.

That's enough for me. Do it, Clarkie!

He's the one constant on an inconsistent Flyers team, scoring goals and points, killing penalties, and forechecking like a man playing against boys. And now he's the NHL's active leader in consecutive games played, too.

Rod Brind'Amour became the NHL's new iron man last week when Montreal's Mark Recchi succumbed to pneumonia and ended a streak of 570 consecutive games. Brind'Amour has now played 433 consecutive contests.

The iron man mark is just one more feather in Brind'Amour's cap -- and perhaps the most important reason that he's far too valuable to EVER trade. Still, it's no wonder that rumors constantly surround his name. How many superstars combine Brind'Amour's rugged style with that type of durability? None.

Let's hope Bob Clarke's recent insanity doesn't extend to exiling Brind'Amour, which, yep, is a rumor that's making the rounds again. Surprise, surprise.

The Flyers next six games will take place away from home, not such a bad thing for a team that's rapidly incurring the wrath of its fans. And since the trip includes games against doormats such as Chicago, San Jose, Calgary, and Vancouver, it should be the perfect Christmas present for a team in need of some confidence.

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