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Daniel Briere is all smiles now, but he sure wasn't smiling in December.
When Daniel Briere signed a two-year contract in Montreal last summer, it had the makings of a great story. A hometown boy returns to lead the local team in the twilight of his career.
Well, it hasn't quite worked out that way.
Let's start by conceding that Briere has been better in the second half of the season. He does have eight goals and six assists in 32 games since January 4 and has been a pretty solid depth forward, filling in wherever Michel Therrien needs him.
But his start to the year was painful to watch, and it culminated in December.
On December 4, Briere had an assist against the New Jersey Devils. It was his 10th point in 19 games as a Hab. It was also his last point for a long time.
After that game, Briere would go on a horrendous pointless drought that spanned 10 games and didn't end until January 4. The slump forced Michel Therrien to make Briere a healthy scratch three times, on December 19, 31 and January 2.
It was not the start Briere was hoping for in Montreal. General manager Marc Bergevin was surely regretting the signing.
Briere's play has improved of late, and he looks more comfortable in Michel Therrien's system. He is also known as a playoff performer. A few goals in the postseason will surely erase the bad memories created early in the season.