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Maroon happy to survive Flyers' roster cuts so far

On the heels of a revealing 5-day preseason road trip, the Flyers made 29 cuts yesterday. That includes 19 players demoted to the Adirondack Phantoms in Glens Falls, N.Y., and eight returned to their junior teams.

On the heels of a revealing 5-day preseason road trip, the Flyers made 29 cuts yesterday. That includes 19 players demoted to the Adirondack Phantoms in Glens Falls, N.Y., and eight returned to their junior teams.

Pat Maroon was not one of them.

For the time being, his name plate remains in place inside the Flyers' locker room at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.

Coming into camp, Maroon was a popular pick to give the Flyers' depth players a run for the money for one of the final roster spots. Last year with the Phantoms - his first as a pro - the St. Louis native posted an impressive 54 points in 80 games.

But sports-hernia surgery on July 30 threw a wrench into Maroon's plans. The tenderness in his abdomen and groin area hampered his offseason preparations and cost him the first few days of training camp.

"I thought I had a great summer," Maroon said. "But then I had surgery. So I feel like I have missed a little bit. It was nice to get back on the ice with the Flyers and start to get in a groove."

Maroon, 21, became an afterthought with such guys as James van Riemsdyk and Blair Betts stealing headlines on the Flyers' visits to Detroit, London, Ontario, and Toronto last week.

"I didn't feel like I was left out at all," Maroon said. "It was an opportunity to work out, practice and get in the game. I thought I played well, so I am happy."

Maroon spent the week practicing with the Phantoms. A gifted scorer at every level he has played, Maroon isn't the most fluid skater on the ice, but his positioning and hockey sense put him in the right spots at the right times.

"It was good to get back out there," he said of his workouts last week. "I'm really just starting to feel more comfortable."

Maroon will make his preseason debut tonight against Detroit at the Wachovia Center. He knows it won't be easy to win a roster spot. The regular season is only 10 days away.

"There are a lot of good players out here," Maroon said.

"I feel like I can maybe make a spot on the team, or at least try and see what happens."

Roster moves

Among the 19 sent to the Phantoms, Andreas Nodl, Jared Ross and Jon Kalinski have the most experience with the Flyers. Coach John Stevens expects all three to contribute to the Flyers at some point this season. He also was impressed with Oskars Bartulis, one of the defensemen sent to the Phantoms.

Forward Mark Bell was released. The former 25-goal scorer with the Blackhawks was hoping for a one-way NHL contract on a tryout basis. Tyler Hostetter, 19, from Lititz, was also in camp on a tryout - but he signed a 3-year entry-level deal before returning to Erie (Ontario Hockey League). Forward Adrian Foster also was released.

That leaves 18 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies in camp. The Flyers need to get down to 23 by Oct. 1, the start of the season. Blair Betts looks like a lock to earn a contract.

General manager Paul Holmgren confirmed that Danny Syvret is still battling for one of the seven or eight defensive positions. His main competitors are Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and Randy Jones.

Gagne ready

Simon Gagne will make his preseason debut tonight after missing the first three preseason games with the groin injury he suffered in the Canadian Olympic camp in Calgary.

"Every practice, I am pushing myself a little more," Gagne said. "Whatever I went through in the Olympic camp is pretty much gone.

"I still have to deal with some stiffness, but I think that's more from the hip surgery this summer. You can do a lot of things . . . when you practice, but you can't push yourself like when you play in a game. I am confident with the way I feel on the ice right now, that's going to be fine."

Yesterday at practice, Gagne skated with Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk. He hopes to skate in all four of the remaining preseason games, but you can bet he will be closely monitored by the coaching staff.

Slap shots

Ray Emery will play the full game tonight in goal . . . Tonight's game will be broadcast on the Comcast Network . . . Flyers strength and conditioning coach Jim McCrossin presented Braydon Coburn (Flyers) and Jon Kalinski (Phantoms) with the "Most Fit" awards at a team dinner on Sunday at Dave & Busters. *

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at