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Dear John - Part 3

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.

Part 1 | Part 2

It seems like training camps are opening late this year and there is not much time from the opening of camp until the first pre-season game. How does that affect things?
Andy Brusko
Whitehall, PA

: “First of all, that is why it’s so important that our players come to camp in shape, which we believe, they will. I think it is critical that our players have done their rigorous offseason training program so we can get into camp and get going right away. We will continue to implement systems every day including game days and use the preseason games to instill some of the systems and identities of our hockey team as we move through training camp.”

Do you practice your breakouts against forechecking pressure based on your opponent?
Kevin Turbett
Norwalk, CT

: “We practice our breakout execution every day, and we will make it specific to our opponent the day before we play. Sometimes is it not always possible when you play back-to-back games, but most teams have a similar forechecking scheme so we do tailor it towards our next opponent, if time allows.”

What does the team hope Glen Metropolit will bring?
Andy Benson
Wilmington, DE

: “As we move into this year we are without some players that we had last year, so he is going to have to assume some of the responsibilities of the players that are no longer here. I think Glen has proven that he can be a well-rounded player. He’s defensively responsible, he will end up being a utility guy that can move up and down your lineup as needed.”

Have you thought about who is going to be named team captain?
Katrina Kligge
Philadelphia, PA

: “Yes, we have had a lot of discussions abut the captaincy with the vacancy created by Jason Smith moving on.  We are hopeful that we can have a guy in place by the start of training camp.”

When you were younger what was your favorite team and who was your favorite player?

Anthony Presto
Alton, IL

: “For me, it was more of a favorite player. I was a big Bobby Orr fan growing up. I was a young defenseman and he was a player that revolutionized that game at that point. Bobby Orr was the guy I looked up to.”

Who is the best fighter you ever played with or coached?
Jim Naphys
Glendora, NJ

: “There have been many. I have spent the bulk of my career in the American Hockey League. I played with Jim McKenzie in Springfield. I played with Frank Bialowas with the Phantoms, and Steve McLaren with the Phantoms. Certainly Riley Cote has got to be in that group in terms of guys that I have coached. There are a lot of tough guys out there and those are certainly a few guys that come to mind.”

Has Braydon Coburn fully recovered from his playoff injury and can you comment on the increased role he could/should have in the upcoming season?
Rob Stephanson
Weyburn, Saskatchewan

: “First of all, Braydon Coburn is feeling great. He feels like he is fully recovered and has worked hard this summer, just like he did before. He is in terrific shape. As for an increased role, we relied on him pretty heavily last year and we are going to look for him to pick up where he left off. He will play big minutes in all key situations for us, just like he did last year maybe even more so.”

Which team in the division are you most concerned about?
Steve Kolber
West Windsor, NJ

: “All of them. I think the Atlantic Division will be every bit as competitive and difficult as it was last year. Pittsburgh will continue to be a power house. I think the Devils have improved their team. I think the Rangers are always going to be a threat. The Islanders will be a threat; they are going with what seems like a younger team which will make them a very competitive team every night.  It will be as every bit as difficult as it was last year.”

Are you always as calm as you look on the bench?
Ken Henry
Niagara Falls, Ontario

: “I have learned through experience to be able to think under pressure. Those who know me know I am a very competitive guy with a really strong fire burning inside, but I learned to control that on the outside to be able to think through the emotions of the game and be able to think for the team. I have a saying, ‘A frightened captain makes for a frightened crew.’ I try to make sure that we continue to operate even in adverse times.”

During the regular season the Flyers, had limited success against Montreal. What did you and the coaching staff come up with to turn it around against Montréal in the playoffs?
Russ Van Buren
Bellingham, WA

: “Even though we didn’t beat Montreal in the regular season, we had games that we played well enough to win and I think we probably played our best hockey at the end.  Some of our young guys matured and there is no question that Marty Biron was on top of his game at that point as well. A lot of things came together and allowed us to have success against a very good Montreal team.”
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