READING THE LINES BETWEEN THE LINES
It was a relatively innocuous e-mail, mostly filled with dates, times and locations.
But, there may have been one really juicy tidbit of information in there.
It seems this training camp the Flyers are starting something new. They are breaking their training camp roster into four teams, and they will scrimmage each other during camp, play a mini tournament and the winner will be awarded the Bob Clarke Cup.
Hokey, I know. But, not a bad way of running camp so the coaches and staff can see how the players play with one another against competition, not just in practice.
So, where's the gem of information?
How about if I told you that the teams were broken up in such a way, that it becomes apparent what combinations the coaches are considering for lines come the start of the season?
On one team are Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Danny Briere. We already know the Flyers are going to experiment with Briere on the wing, trying to free hm up a little more.
A second team has Jeff Carter, Mike Knuble and Scottie Upshall. Sound familiar?
A third team has Glen Metropolit, Joffrey Lupul and Scott Hartnell. Hmmmm.
The fourth team has Jim Dowd, Riley Cote and Aaron Asham. THis is the only one that doesn't make complete sense, because one would think Claude Giroux and Steve Downie have a good shot at making the team. However, when you look at the defense, it might make more sense.
(By the way, Giroux and Downie are on the Richards squad).
Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen are together on one team, Steve Eminger and Randy Jones on a second, Ryan Parent and Ossi Vaananen on a third and Bryan Berard and Lasse Kukkonen on a fourth.
In a sense, Berard and Kukkonen seem to be auditioning for the seventh defenseman spot. THey happen to be playing with the Richards team also. Which would suggest, there is a competition between Giroux and Downie for the last forward spot, and most likely, whoever wins that job will get a regular spot in the lineup with Asham and Cote on the enforcer rotation.
John Stevens would tell me I'm reading too much into this. But, tea leave interpretation is a forte of mine.
Take it for what you will, but I think this is what Stevens envisions for the start of the season, barring injury.