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Dear John - Part 1

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Stevens has often been described as one of the bright young minds in the game of hockey, helping to lead his club to the Eastern Conference Final in his first full season behind the bench. Now, he's taking time out from his summer schedule to answer questions from you, the fans, right here exclusively on

To submit your question to John for consideration in an upcoming mailbag, click here.

What prospects are close to joining the Flyers?
Mike Liacouras
West Chester, PA

:  “We have several players that are close, but we’ll have to wait and see how they do in Training Camp.  Obviously (Claude) Giroux is one that has been mentioned plenty of times, and Nate Guenin is also among them.”

How has coaching in the American Hockey League affected you as a coach in the National Hockey League?

Eric Albright
Levittown, PA

:  “I think it’s helped just because I had a lot of relationships already with the players that were on the Phantoms when we won the Calder Cup in 2005. The players that I had that had that were now on the Flyers all understood my philosophy, so that made the transition much easier both for me and, I think, for them.”

What do you expect Arron Asham’s role to be on the Flyers?

Sam Armstrong
Lincoln, PA

:  “We are not quite sure yet. We know Arron is a tough competitor who plays hard every night, just from seeing him on the Devils so many times. He is just the kind of guy that is going to make us a harder team to play against.”

How is the mentality going into Training Camp this year different from last year?

Will Richards
Gladwyne, PA

:  “It will be more of the same, really. The biggest difference is that our expectations as a group are higher than they before. Now, we just need an extra push to get the rest of the way, so that will be the emphasis. Also, there will also be a big demand on fitness, but that’s not much of a change.”

At the end of the post season run you had Danny Briere on the wing, with the return of Simon Gagne, will you keep Briere as a winger?

Melissa Bene
Drexel Hill, PA

:  “There is a possibility, but we have not decided yet. I think Danny can play both center and wing, so he gives us a lot of options. We’ll take a look at some different things in camp and take it from there. Either way, Danny's versatility is something that can only be a benefit.”

What was your favorite moment in your first season as head coach of the Flyers?
Kelly D.
Glen Mills, PA

:  “There were probably three of them. One was the day we made the playoffs when we won our game and then watched Carolina lose in our locker room after our game had already ended. That was a great moment not just for me, but for the team. I guess the other two aren’t too hard to figure out…but number two would be the Game Seven overtime win against Washington in the first round, and three was the Game Five win in Montreal to advance to the Conference Final.”

Looking back at the 10-game losing streak, was there something someone said that turned things around?

Alf Mooney
Fargo, North Dakota

:  “I don’t think there was one certain thing that someone said, per se. I think that goal that Jeff Carter scored when we were down 3-0 was obviously huge. Danny Briere scoring in the shootout just to get us back on the winning track – I think that game in Buffalo was the key game for us getting out of that and back on track.”

Are you planning more team building activities and do you think it helped on the ice?

Josh Baldwin
Chambersburg, PA

:  “Yes, we are, but nothing is confirmed yet. We are looking at the possibility of going back to West Point.  I think when the players get to know each other and establish relationships with one another, they know each other better and will play harder for each other when they get on the ice. I think you could see that last year, when we had a great experience in Whistler getting the guy together out in the woods, and we came flying out of the gate.”

Do you ever notice a difference in your team when there are a lot of fans attending away games?

Kevin Barrett
West Chester, PA

:  “Our players love to play at home because the fans are so great, but anytime we see our fans on the road the players get a boost. We’re lucky in that there seems to be Flyers fans in just about every road arena we visit, and I certainly think it helps.”

What do have to do to improve your success rate on the shootout?

Justin Neeld
Horsham, PA

:  “I think there are two ways to improve it. One is that we continue to work with our goalies. Two, we watch the video of our goalies and shooters and then we work on it in practice. I think the more guys do it the more they become comfortable with it.  This is something we are going to continue to work on both with our goalies and with our players and will continue to watch video.”

Who is your favorite musician, and why?

David Hartman
Hershey, PA

:  “Bruce Springsteen. His was the first concert I ever saw. I love all his music, and the fact that over time he changes a little bit with each album. I find that it’s music I can listen to when I want to relax, when I want to work out or when I used to get pumped up to play.”
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