Daniel Briere: Oh Danny Boy . . .

The Frozen FanCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2009

The pathetic excuse for hockey the Philadelphia Flyers presented against the Calgary Flames during the first period left me contemplating this morning’s blog. Perhaps I would talk about the importance of work ethic.
Or I could address whether fans should boo their own team—something I will likely tackle in an upcoming entry.

And then I watched as Danny Briere was absolutely mauled in the corner, midway through the second period. It happened directly in front of our seats, so we had an excellent view of the incident.

At the time, two things about that play struck me. First, Briere skated quite slowly to the bench, especially considering that one of his linemates had recovered the puck at center ice and was waiting for him to clear the zone. I asked my dad, who was with me, if he thought Briere might be injured. His reply was just a groan.

In Flyer World right now, that essentially implied “Figures he would come back, cost us Glen Metropolit and Ossi Vaananen, give us no cap space for the trade deadline, and then decide to be injured.” {sigh}

The second thing was the absence of Flyers retaliation. True, the entire performance was rather soft for a franchise built on the Broad Street Bullies’ shoulders. I would expect some sort of response for aggressively targeting a key Flyer forward, though. The Flames rode Briere all night, and neither his linemates nor the rest of the team seemed ready to send a message of protection. 

That needs to change, and fast. Briere will be vital to playoff success for the Flyers. They cannot afford constantly recurring injuries. Opponents know both of these things, and the Bruins and the Flames targeted him as a result. This team needs to step up and defend the diminutive center.

Maybe the Flyers are feeling sorry for themselves in light of the personnel losses. But no one is offering the Flyers a free two points simply because life on the ice got rougher. The stretch drive is not a good time to melt down.

It’s very hard to feel optimistic about this team right now.