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Briere and the Flyers a Perfect Fit

by Kevin Kurz / Philadelphia Flyers
Center had “gut feeling” he would end up in Philadelphia

Related Content: Danny Briere Press Conference

(Voorhees, NJ, July 12) – In Danny Briere, the Flyers’ “prized free agent acquisition” in the words of General Manager Paul Holmgren, the team sees a player that is committed to doing whatever it takes to be successful.

Briere sees exactly the same thing in the organization, which is what drew him to Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent coming off of a career year in Buffalo.

“I wanted to be with a good organization, an organization that is committed to winning, not just for this year, but for the next three, four, five, six and eight years,” said Briere. “You look at the history of the Flyers, and they are an organization that does well and is committed to winning.”
General Manager Paul Holmgren presents Danny Briere with his Flyers jersey. (Flyers Photos)

Briere was the latest in a string of introductions from the Flyers this week, as forward Scott Hartnell and defenseman Jason Smith held press conferences of their own. As could be expected, Briere’s media availability drew the most attention.

Of course, extra attention from the media is supposed to produce added pressure. Briere doesn’t let that get to him, however.

“I believe there is pressure anywhere. You have to be able to face it.  It comes with the territory, and it’s part of the game,” he said.

“Obviously, you have to perform, and the only way to do that is by working on the ice. There are no other secrets to it.  To be successful, you have to work and leave it all on the ice.  That’s what I plan on doing.”

Following the Sabres’ playoff elimination in the Eastern Conference Finals, Briere had several options as to where he could continue his career. Going back to Buffalo was an option, as was signing with the Montreal Canadiens, who coveted the French-speaking Briere.

Still, the offensively-gifted centerman had a feeling that he would end up in Philadelphia.

“I like this team and I like how I fit in with this team,” he said. “People seem to think that when I say I like the direction this team is going that it’s a knock against Montreal, it’s not at all.  I have heard a lot of good things about Montreal.  It’s a great organization, but in the end my gut was telling me this was the best fit.

“I had a pretty good feeling that the place I wanted to go was Philly when we started looking at our options.”

Of course, much has been made about Briere’s friendship with another former Sabre – goaltender Martin Biron, who may have helped the process along.

“I asked questions to Marty about the organization, the players on the team, the coaching staff, stuff like that.  That’s where he was helpful,” said Briere.

It is now up to Head Coach John Stevens on how he would like to use Briere when the season begins. There has already been much speculation that he will play between wingers Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble in what would certainly be the club’s top line.

Rather than looking at line combinations (after all it’s still only July), Stevens would rather discuss what makes Briere such a force in the league.

“As a coach, when you see a player like Danny, it’s always interesting for me to look a little deeper and look why he has success,” said Stevens. “When you get some tape and you sit down and isolate on Danny, there is a reason he is successful.  He’s not just a skilled player. He’s in first on the forecheck a lot. He’s really dynamic down low, and he’s not afraid to get in there and battle through traffic. 

“With his skill level and determination, he’s put up great numbers, so we feel he is a great fit here.”

Added Holmgren: “We needed a guy that is competitive, we needed a guy that could score us goals and we needed a guy that could be creative on the power play.  I think Danny fits all those categories for us.”
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