Philadelphia Flyers Forward Daniel Briere Suspended: Say It Ain't So, Danny

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 23:  Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers is congratulated on a goal in a hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Wells Fargo Center on October 23, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Oh Danny boy.

The Philadelphia Flyers will be without star forward Danny Briere for three games after he was suspended by the NHL for "cross-checking" Frans Nielson in the closing minutes of Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders. 

After Frans Nielson entered the face-off circle with Danny Briere, Nielson skated into Briere and said something that didn’t seem to please Briere.  The linesman pushed Nielson back, and upon the drop off the puck, Briere went high with his stick and slid the stick from Nielson’s shoulder pad to his ear slot on his helmet.

A melee ensued, and both players were given game misconducts, while Briere received a five-minute major for cross-checking. 

Briere didn’t look to try to hit him in the helmet, but instead he appeared to cross-check him in the shoulder and then it slid to his helmet.  There was an incident that had taken place earlier between the two as well, and the NHL could’ve been connecting the proverbial dots.

“Honestly, I’m shocked,” Danny Briere said Monday.  “After all the suspensions the last couple years or this year…I’m shocked that it was more than a game.”

I believe Neilson bated Briere into cross-checking him by lighting the fuse by saying something in the face-off circle and then diving low after the face off.  That is something Sean Avery would do, and I hope the New York Islanders don’t support that style of play.

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“I'm not really surprised with the length of the suspension," general manager Paul Holmgren said concerning the suspension.

After the NHL faced criticism with its handling of the Chicago defenseman Nick Hjalmarson hit on Buffalo Sabres forward Jason Pominville, I think they made the Briere suspension three games to keep him from coming back in a game against the New York Islanders.

This suspension will be a big loss in the short term for the Flyers because of how hot the Briere, Hartnell, Leino line is.  The line has 12 points in its last five games and has been the spark for a lot of the Flyers offense.  It looks like Jeff Carter will play on that line; this could be a big chance for him to use the stellar play of Hartnell and Leino to get himself on a roll.

Two Game Notes

1.  The “Iron Curtain” Sergei Bobrovsky got his third consecutive start in goal and looks to be playing extremely well.

2.  Philadelphia Flyers rookie Eric Wellwood made his NHL debut tonight due to the injury of Andreas Nodl.