Giroux sent down; Downie's injury not serious

Claude Giroux, the Flyers' highly touted rookie winger, was assigned to the AHL Phantoms today.

No great surprise. Giroux has been less than overwhelming in the preseason, and the Flyers think he needs more seasoning before he cracks their top-nine forward rotation.

Coach John Stevens said Giroux, who tore up hus junior league last season, needs to work on his game in the AHL.

"It's just part of the process," Stevens said. "He's got a boatload of talent and he needs to play."

The Flyers also announced that Steve Downie's injured left knee is not as bad as the club first feared. Downie fell to the ice and was injured in a fight against Washington's Jay Beagle Wednesday.

I wonder if Riley Cote will have his eyes on Beagle in Friday's rematch, at Washington.

Downie's knee is strained, and the Flyers say there's a chance he'll be ready for the Oct. 11 opener against the visiting New York Rangers.

   In addition to Giroux, who was scoreless in four preseason games, the Flyers assigned defensemen Sean Curry and Nate Guenin, and forwards Jon Kalinski, Boyd Kane and Jared Ross to the Phantoms.

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      The Flyers will play their final game in their former home, the Wachovia Spectrum, when they meet their AHL affiliate, the Phantoms, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. A free block party featuring live entertainment and interactive games begins at 5:30 p.m.

    The game will be preceded by an on-ice ceremony featuring a hoisting of the Stanley Cup banner by 21 members of the Flyers Stanley Cup winning teams (1973-74 and 1974-75).  The jerseys worn by the Stanley Cup champions during the pre-game ceremony will be autographed and auctioned off during the game. 

   Members of the Stanley Cup teams who are scheduled to appear in the pre-game ceremony are Bill Barber, Tom Bladon, Gary Dornhoefer, Andre Dupont, Rick MacLeish, Simon Nolet, Bernie Parent, Don Saleski, Dave Schultz, Ed Van Impe, Jimmy Watson, Joe Watson, Ted Harris, Bob Kelly, Bob Clarke, Bill Clement, Terry Crisp, Orest Kindrachuk, Bob Taylor, Reggie Leach and Larry Goodenough. 

     Tickets, including a special $19.67 ticket to commemorate the opening year of the Spectrum, are on sale at or by calling



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   Will Jim Dowd earn a spot with the Flyers?

   Right now, it's a tossup.

   During the remainder of camp, keep an eye on RW Andreas Nodl, a 21-year-old RW who has been impressive in the preseason. The kid has a bright future.

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  Right now, the Flyers defense figures to be led by Kimmo Timonen, star-in-the-making Braydon Coburn, Randy Jones, Ossi Vaananen and Steve Eminger.

   The sixth spot could go to Ryan Parent (if healthy) or Bryan Berard. Luca Sbisa, despite a tremendous camp, is just 18 years old and probably needs another year before he's ready for the NHL. Lasse Kukkonen is also in the mix, but figures to be a spare part.

   Parent has been bothered by a shoulder injury and has played in just two preseason games. His injury could open the door for Berard.

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   The Flyers begin a three-day bonding camp at West Point Sunday. The last time they were there was before the disastrous 2006-07 season.