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October 23, 2001 - Desjardins says he needs to concentrate on own game

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Desjardins says he needs to concentrate on own game
 
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.