Friends, fans and upper management we gather here today to look back upon the Flyers career of the only player we know who can actually flick a switch when games matter.
Danny Briere came to the Flyers in July of 2007 and gave this organization hope, that even after an abysmal season star players still wished to play in the City of Brotherly Love. We had all hoped for something more out of him in the regular season, like that 95-point performance in Buffalo, but injuries and inconsistent defensive play led him to bouncing around with linemates and his size often pushed him to a wing where he was never quite comfortable. In his first game versus Calgary, Danny boy lit the lamp and we all smiled thinking a page in Flyers history had been turned and we could follow this guy like the masses before us followed Clarkie and Barber to Cups. But sadly it was not to be.
However we are here to celebrate Danny's career not mourn it. He is known around these parts as "Mr. Playoffs," "The Prince of the PowerPlay" "The Colossus of Clout," Shut-up Tommy! (obviously if you don't get this you've never seen The Sandlot). He was someone who embraced big moments and seemed to become the best player in the world every year come mid-April. In 2008 Danny was a catalyst for leading this team from the league cellar tied up next to Chunk, to the Eastern Conference Finals against their dreaded rival in Pittsburgh. The Flyers would lose this series in 5 due to an injury-ravaged lineup but there's always next year. In 2009 Briere shined again during the team's 1st round flameout vs the Pens but typical to Phillly nature, there's always next year. Oh boy was there next year.
In June, Chris Pronger joined the Flyers but by December not all was ok at Broad and Pattison. John Stevens was fired and replaced with Peter Laviolette and the team was floundering. Up and down all the way to game 82. The famous winner take the 7th seed game vs. the Rangers. 1-1 score through overtime, and they headed to a shootout. This is where the legend of Danny Briere begins. He walked right in on Henrik Lundquist and fires one five-hole to give the Flyers the shootout edge. Brian Boucher handled the rest and sent the Flyers on to the Playoffs yet again.
The 2010 playoffs is where Danny Briere earned his contract. He scored countless go-ahead or tying goals. He played his biggest games when they mattered most and helped resurrect a team left for dead by Boston in the 2nd round. He put up 30 points in only 23 games played and 12 of those points came in the Stanley Cup Finals. While the team walked away empty handed, Danny Briere became a fan favorite for all he did.
The years went on and his play and health declined. The Flyers realized that in order for big time playoff performers to be at their best, the team actually needed to make them. For salary cap relief the Flyers took number 48 out behind the Skate Zone and took a shotgun to his Flyers career. Ol' Danny B knew this was coming and went off with class, like he has handled his whole career in the City of Brotherly Love.
Until we met again Danny Briere, keep calm and fistpump on.
To put it simply the Flyers organization has been linked to every name in the NHL at this point and the Stanley Cup Finals aren't even over. Here's a quick run down of the big names their attached to and if they're worth it.
Ah the prodigal son from South Jersey, who grew up idolizing the Flyers and Bobby Clarke. Power, speed, size, good shot and a nice set of hands; what isn't to like? Well, the Ducks asking price for starters. They want Coburn and the #11 pick. No way that can happen especially in this draft. Ryan is a good player but will he still put up 30 goals when he is being keyed on more as the #2 player instead of the 5th or 6th best forward on the team. He has been stuck behind Perry, Getzlaf and Selanne for years. Maybe this is the reason he has 30 goals, maybe he is just that good of a player. The #11 pick is too much to give up for Ryan but could prove to be a useful addition if obtained for the right price.
LA has a big asking price (Voracek, Read and picks) for their back-up goalie who many scouts say is NHL starter ready. He has played very well in starts given but is a question mark as to whether or not he can handle the rigors of an 82-game season as the #1 in the crease. Would be interesting to have a goalie battle with him and Steve Mason, assuming Bryzgalov is bought out. No where near worth his asking price and the team would be wise to wait and be patient until the Draft to see if LA can move him, if not send an offer-sheet out west and watch LA panic and not match or pull the old Chris Gratton and "trade" for him after the fact of being signed. Bernier currently is not worth the price being asked so the Flyers need to be cautious of any sudden movements.
This is under the assumption he is bought out by the Rangers but my analysis is simple. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!
From the Box