Flyers leave ex-Knights off roster

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Three recognizable ex-London Knights -- Danny Syvret, Josh Beaulieu and Pat Maroon -- belong to the Philadelphia Flyers.

But none of them are expected to be in the lineup when the Flyers play an NHL preseason game against the New York Islanders tonight at 7 p.m. at a John Labatt Centre that is still not sold out.

As of yesterday afternoon, the trio are still in Flyers camp and haven't been assigned to the American Hockey League's Philadelphia Phantoms yet. But they weren't part of Philly's 32-player contingent that boarded a plane to face the Ottawa Senators last night and the Isles in London tonight.

Londoner Jeff Carter, new captain Mike Richards, goalie Martin Biron, Steve Downie, Braydon Coburn and Scottie Upshall made the trip.

"Of course, I would like to see them (Syvret and Co.) play in London, but the last time I checked, I'm the general manager of the London Knights and Paul Holmgren is the general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers," Mark Hunter said. "I'm not going to tell them what to do. I respect what they do. They have a team they have to run."

Syvret, the captain of the Knights' Memorial Cup winning team and the Canadian Hockey League's top defenceman in 2004-05, was acquired by the Flyers from Edmonton this summer. Maroon was signed to a contract early in 2007-08 during his only season with the Knights and Beaulieu played for the Phantoms last year.

Global Spectrum, which manages the JLC and whose parent company owns the Flyers, claims it doesn't have a say in the roster Philly coach John Stevens showcases.

"The Flyers are a very well-marketed team and they do make a point of looking at things like this and I think that's why we're going to see a London guy like Jeff Carter, who just signed a huge contract, and Mike Richards, the former Kitchener Ranger," JLC director of marking Dave Harris said.

"It's a credit to London fans the Flyers keep coming back every year and see London as an important market with hard-core hockey fans."

Two years ago, there was a similar outcry about players sent for preseason games when the Flyers played the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh didn't dress Sidney Crosby, who was in the building where he lost the 2005 Memorial Cup final to the Knights.

Evgeni Malkin was hurt the night before when he ran into Pens teammate John LeClair so he didn't play. Jordan Staal, however, was in the lineup for that game and Jaromir Jagr played for Washington when the Caps faced the Flyers five years ago.

The Islanders boast goalie Rick DiPietro and forwards Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin. The team may choose not to dress them.

"In the OHL, you try to get the kids in the first few games and by the last two, you want to get your team together and play the guys you're going to start the season with," Hunter said.

This is the Flyers' third exhibition game. It's the Islanders' second after facing Boston in Moncton on Tuesday.

Philly made former star goalie Bernie Parent and Bob Kelly available to spread the word about the game, which commands a top ticket price in excess of $70.

The Flyers are holding a free, open practice this morning at 10 a.m. and there will be a block party with food and entertainment before the game.


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