Judging by the way he spoke and the tone of his voice last week, Danny Briere did not sound confident he would be ready to return to the lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
“I’d like to be ready for the playoffs,” Briere said last Tuesday. “I just don’t know at this point.”
So, it was somewhat of a surprise that Briere - who suffered an upper-back contusion on April 1 - was back on the ice with his teammates on Monday in their first preparation practice for Pittsburgh.
Defenseman Nick Grossmann, who was also on the ice, was expected to be back for Game 1 the entire time.
Briere skated as normal, on a line with Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek, not wearing any sort of special non-contact jersey. Matt Read also subbed in on that line at one point - although Wayne Simmonds was not used there.