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Desjardins Steps Down As Captain

October 23, 2001

VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) _ Eric Desjardins, still looking for his first goal of the season, stepped down as captain of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and was replaced by veteran center Keith Primeau.

Desjardins, a defenseman, had been captain since former Flyer Eric Lindros was stripped of the title in March 2000. He said he felt more responsibility as captain and didn’t want the added pressure.

``When I first took this, I looked at it as a big challenge,″ Desjardins said. ``It was tough last year, I didn’t feel comfortable. I never felt like I was doing everything right. That was a big concern and it was affecting my play.″

Desjardins said he wanted to concentrate more on his own game. In eight games, Desjardin has no goals, three assists and is a minus-3.

The Flyers’ coaching staff met with Desjardins to discuss the matter when the team was in Atlanta last week.

``After I talked to the players and the coaches, I felt a lot better,″ Desjardins said.

``He’s been a great captain for us,″ head coach Bill Barber said. ``He’s weathered a lot of the load the last few years. It takes a lot of courage to step aside.″

Desjardins, a six-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s best defenseman, said the Flyers’ uneven 3-2-3 start wasn’t crucial to the decision.

``It was a little bit of everything. Maybe I wanted to be too perfect, maybe that’s why I wasn’t comfortable.″

Mark Recchi and John LeClair remain as alternate captains.

Primeau becomes the 13th captain in Flyer history. The 30-year-old player formerly was captain of the Carolina Hurricanes.

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