VOORHEES, N.J. -- New Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Stevens assumes his duties as a face familiar to his current NHL roster. Eleven current Flyers played for Stevens in the AHL with the Philadelphia Phantoms. Here are comments some of the players that Stevens will now guide.
ANTERO NIITTYMAKI (second-year NHL goalie who spent three seasons in the AHL with Stevens)
"He's honest. He tells you if he doesn't like something that you're doing out there. He lets you know if you're doing a good job. I like it. I want to know if I'm not playing...So, he's an honest coach."
"He was the same kind of guy everyday...Don't get too high, don't get too low."
ALEXANDRE PICARD (recent NHL recall who was under Stevens' mentorship as an AHL rookie defenceman last season)
"He was a great mentor for me. He knows a lot about the mental side of things. That's the way he helped me out last year."
"He is a calm guy...He cares a lot. He's got the crest tattooed on his heart, that's for sure."
"I was fortunate to have him because he saw right away my ups and downs, and he made sure that I didn't go too high or too low."
MIKE RICHARDS (second-year centre who is considered to be future NHL captain material, made his pro debut with Stevens in the 2005 Calder Cup playoffs and helped lead the Phantoms to a Calder Cup championship)
"He knows the game. Very smart hockey guy. He's played the game, so he can (draw) on his experiences. He is a good teacher."
PETER FORSBERG (Flyers captain)
"John is a proven winner. The young guys like him, and he is going to be a good change for us. When I've dealt with him, he's been great, so I think he is going to do a good job."