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Briere Talks New-Look Flyers

by Adam Kimelman / Philadelphia Flyers
According to veteran Daniel Briere, Thursday's flurry of activity by GM Paul Holmgren delivered a clear message to the remaining Philadelphia Flyers.

After digesting the news that franchise cornerstones Mike Richards, the team's captain, and Jeff Carter were shipped away in separate deals Thursday and that elite goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was signed to a long-term deal just days before reaching unrestricted free agency, Briere was convinced that the team's commitment to winning was stronger than ever.

"It's always tough as a player to see teammates go, two of them leaving today," Briere told Thursday night. "It's never a good feeling. But the message that I got from that was … our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. The last two years, we had the team to win the Stanley Cup and we didn't succeed, we didn't reach our goal. This organization isn't going to sit back and let the parade go by. That's the message I got. Come next year everybody better be ready to go. They're not going to just sit back."

Richards was moved to the Los Angeles Kings for young forwards Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, as well as a draft pick next season.

Despite losing the veteran presence of Richards, Briere is excited about the potential Schenn brings to the table. He distinctly remembers watching the young Schenn play in this winter's World Junior Championship and coming away impressed by more than just the 18 points in seven games he put up to win the tournament's MVP award.

"I remember watching Schenn at the World Juniors last year," Briere said. "He looked great. I thought he handled the pressure well. If he wasn't Canada's best player he was in the top two or three. I was very impressed by him. I remember thinking I wish we had someone like that in the organization coming up."

Carter, meanwhile, was traded to Columbus for a pair of draft picks and young winger Jakub Voracek.

Those moves allowed Holmgren the financial flexibility to sign Bryzgalov to a long-tern deal on Thursday. The Flyers acquired the goalie's negotiating rights from Phoenix earlier this month and had until July 1 to sign him before he became an unrestricted free agent.

Holmgren said Thursday he believed Bryzgalov to be an elite-level goalie and the long-awaited candidate to bring some stability to the golatending position in Philadelphia.

Briere agreed with that assessment as well after watching the Flyers use three goalies in the 2011 Playoffs, in which they were swept by Boston in the second round.

"I don't believe we lost the series against Boston because of goaltending," Briere said. "It's easy to point the finger there, but I don't agree with that. There's a lot of questioning that comes with it, but I think that (Bryzgalov signing) is going to stop all the questioning with goaltending and the Flyers. That needed to be done and the organization took care of it."
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