Mon, Jan 30, 2006
VOORHEES, N.J. -- With Flyers captain Keith Primeau out indefinitely with a concussion and the team mired
in its first major slump of the season, Philadelphia named defenseman Derian Hatcher acting captain on Sunday.
Hatcher, 33, previously served as captain of the Dallas Stars and wore the "C" during the team`s Stanley Cup
championship in 1999.
The Flyers have been without a designated captain since Primeau was sidelined Oct. 30. Hatcher is the 14th
captain in the franchise`s 39-year history, a number that includes two stints by now-general manager Bob Clarke.
Hatcher and Primeau met with Clarke and coach Ken Hitchcock on Sunday morning.
"I think it`s something that [Hitchcock] and some of the players felt that, with some of what`s been going
on, that there needed to be a captain, a voice in the room that represents the team," Hatcher said.
"We need some direction," said Primeau, who was named captain in 2001. "With my uncertainty, as good as the
guys have been to find ways to win hockey games, right now we`re in a tough patch and we need that direction."
Philadelphia has lost six of its last eight games and has seen a nine-point Atlantic Division lead dwindle
to just three over the New York Rangers.
"When things are going really well, you`re thinking that it`s not necessary [to have a captain]," said Hitchcock.
"But when things aren`t going as well, you need to have firm direction in the locker room. ... If you have a captain with
experience, why not take advantage of it?"
Also Sunday, Simon Gagne and Sami Kapanen became permanent assistant captains.
Gagne had been asked to take the captaincy back in November but declined. At 25, he didn`t feel he was ready.
But he does applaud the Hatcher decision.
"I think it`s something that`s needed now," he said. "We have so many young guys who have questions, sometimes
it tough for them to find somebody. Now they have somebody."