The Stanley Cup Playoffs seem to be motivation enough for Philadelphia center Danny Briere, who scored the 50th goal of his playoff career in just his 106th game in Game 3 of the Flyers' Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.
|Danny Briere celebrates one of his goals against the Devils.
After the game, Briere told RDS reporter Renaud Lavoie that he wanted to send a message to a friend of his -- 11-year-old Mikael Pageau of Gatineau, Que. Pageau had spent 14 hours in surgery on Monday at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa as doctors attempted to remove a large brain tumor.
Pageau, who lives in Briere's hometown and plays hockey for a team coached by one of Briere's closest friends, Robert Frenette, had sent Briere a text message through Frenette earlier Thursday, asking the Philadelphia forward to score a goal for him that night.
"My friend [Frenette] and his dad were coaching, and the little boy, they found a mass in his brain," Briere told NHL.com. "They're not sure what it is. They're still waiting for results to come back. He was in surgery to remove the mass. It was as 14-hour surgery on Monday. … When he got out of [surgery], he asked his dad if the Flyers were playing and he said we were playing Thursday. So he asked his dad if you think Danny can score me a goal, so through my friend, he sent me a message that Mikael was wondering if I could score him a goal and that's how the thing got rolling.
"I wish I could have given him a victory as well. But it was a pretty cool feeling."
Not only did Briere deliver on the request, he went on RDS after the game and told Pageau he was putting the puck someplace special, and that the next time he saw the boy he was going to give him the puck he scored the goal with.
Despite the loss and his team sitting in a 2-1 series deficit, Briere still was marveling at his goal.
"I think it was just meant to be," he said. "There's an extra force somewhere that wanted it to happen. Not a lot of time left in a crucial game like that. It was a good feeling. I heard there was some tears from some grown-ups back home when that happened. I got another message [Saturday] morning that he's fighting back. So that's probably the best feeling of it all. Scoring goals is pretty cool, but feeling better about the fact that he's starting to fight back. It gives him hope, that's the biggest thing."