Primeau sang the praises of grinders like Ben Eager and Riley Cote. But it was Hitchcock who really took notice in the way the Phantoms players played.
"They kept the tempo going," said Hitchcock. "The combination of our players being excited to get back out there and their work ethic coming from that championship team, thatís what stuck out to me the most.
"We know our own players, the thing that impressed me was the players from the Phantoms. The players that were on that team last year really compete hard and they kept the pace hot which is a great thing for a coach and will do nothing but help our players. It was a tempo that I didnít think they could keep up for 2 Ĺ hours but they did."
Hitchcock singled out the play of such Phantoms as Jeff Carter, Patrick Sharp, Jon Sim and R.J. Umberger. While Carter and Sharp are shoe-ins for the regular season roster, Sim and Umberger appear more and more likely to having a strong shot of joining them for that first game against the Rangers.
"Two things we went with were Umberger and Sim and put Carter back with Sharp until Peter (Forsberg) is ready to go," said Hitchcock. "Those were two pairs that were excellent together and weíll take those pairs into the exhibition games and see how they go."
NOTES: Hitchcock said once Forsberg returns, Carter will start on his right wing but will see considerable time at center as well. Thatís because Forsberg isnít a strong faceoff guy on the right side of the ice, so when faceoffs are on that side, he and Carter will switch positions ..When asked what he thought of the new shootout rule, Esche jokingly said heíd rather play hockey all night to determine a winner before surprisingly saying he likes the idea and that it will better the game. Strange coming from a goalie ..The Flyers are expected to shrink their camp roster from 53 down to about 27 rather quickly. Hitchcock said he only wanted one room-full of players by Sunday, meaning the rest of the team will start working exclusively with the Phantoms coaching staff.
On what Hitchcock said, that is to be expected. Some of these guys didn't play last season, so don't be suprised if quite a few guys play most of the preseason games, whereas in the past the Flyers would usually ice an 'A' team and a 'B' team.