(SportsNetwork.com) - Six years ago, Danny Briere spurned the Montreal
Canadiens in favor of signing with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Fast-forward to the present and Briere is finally in a Habs jersey. He'll try
to lead his club to a victory over his former employer on Saturday night when
the Canadiens play host to the Flyers.
Following a productive three-plus seasons in Buffalo, Briere hit the free
agent market in the summer of 2007 and drew interest from a number of teams.
The Quebec-born forward, though, drew the ire of Montreal natives when he
decided to ink an eight-year, $52 million deal with the Flyers.
Briere netted 124 goals with 159 assists for 283 points in 364 games with
Philadelphia, but had just six goals and 16 points in 34 games last season. He
ran out of goodwill stemming from his 30-point playoff output during the
Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010 and had the final two years of
his contract bought out this past summer. That gave the 35-year-old the
opportunity to sign a two-year deal with the Canadiens
"He was a good player for us for the whole time I was here," said Flyers head
coach Peter Laviolette. "Certainly in the playoffs he made his noise and he
made his noise really loud. You go back to some of the big series he had, the
big run to the Finals, his line was an integral part of that. It's good that
he landed somewhere and he's happy. I'm sure he'll be excited to play his old
Briere said he's happy that his first game versus the Flyers comes early in
the season and at home.
"I guess that makes it a little bit easier on the preparation because for me,
personally, it's not a normal game," he told Montreal's website. "You're
facing your ex-teammates. I have a lot of friends there. It'll be a little
tougher, but I really believe that playing it in Montreal makes it a little
Briere made his regular season debut with the Habs in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to
Toronto. He had four shots and was held without a point as the Canadiens
failed to hold a 2-1 lead after the first period. Lars Eller scored twice and
also assisted on Brendan Gallagher's goal, while Carey Price made 34 saves on
38 shots faced.
Toronto's eventual winning goal came minutes after Montreal enforcer George
Parros was carted off the ice on a stretcher following a fight with Colton
Orr. Parros suffered a concussion when he was taken down by Orr during the
fight and landed face-first on the ice.
"It's not easy after that incident to get back into the game, but we tried to
use that as fuel to get another goal," said Eller, who scored his second goal
with 2:22 to play.
Parros was released from the hospital Wednesday morning and is sidelined
The Flyers also lost their season opener to Toronto, falling to the visiting
Maple Leafs 3-1 on Wednesday.
Brayden Schenn scored during a first-period power play, but the Flyers failed
to score on six other opportunities with the man advantage. Vincent Lecavalier
and Mark Streit had assists on the goal in their Philadelphia debuts.
"Offensively that's the best we've looked in a while, but at the end of the
day you've got to score more than one goal to win a game," said Laviolette.
Steve Mason, acquired during the lockout-shortened season, got the start over
free agent signing Ray Emery and made 22 saves. Emery could get the start in
"It's huge, I had a great meeting with (Laviolette) a couple of days ago.
That's when he told me I would be playing and it's a huge honor to get the
opening night start," said Mason. "Ray could have been there just as easily as
I could so it was a great honor to have it and unfortunately we didn't get the
The Flyers have won 10 of their past 14 versus the Canadiens, splitting two
trips to Montreal last season.
The Sports Network