Danny Briere… the bruiser?
Of all the players on the Flyers roster that could be suspended, I would probably peg Briere about as likely to be banned as Mika Pyorala.
Not that Briere doesn’t hit or sometimes play a physical game, he is just not a dirty player. Briere was suspended for two games on Tuesday by the NHL for his hit on Colorado’s Scott Hannan.
Briere surprised Hannan just a fraction of a second after he scored on Ray Emery in the second period. Hannan left the game after that hit with a neck injury. A video clip of the hit is below, around the 3:25 mark.
Briere told me on Tuesday night that he was definitely surprised by the suspension. You can read Briere’s explanation of the play in Wednesday’s Daily News.
The suspension is significant hit to both the Flyers’ lineup and Briere’s wallet. As the Flyers’ highest paid player, Briere will forfeit $67,352.52 in salary for missing Wednesday’s game on Long Island and Black Friday’s matinee against Buffalo. That’s almost $9,000 more than the United States’ median income.
Briere leads the Flyers in scoring with 10 goals. They are already missing Simon Gagne, Darroll Powe, Blair Betts and Arron Asham with injuries.
The Flyers didn’t make any roster moves on Tuesday but Asham did skate with the team for the first time since he strained his oblique muscle on Nov. 16 against New Jersey, just before they started this current road trip.
Flyers coach John Stevens said that they will monitor Asham at the morning skate on Wednesday to see if he is ready to return. If not, Riley Cote will likely dress.
I am not going to take the bait that Kimmo Timonen is not injured. Timonen did not skate on Tuesday as part of what Stevens said was a “planned maintenance day.”
Coincidentally, Timonen was not on the ice for the final five or six minutes of Monday night’s game in Denver. Both Stevens and general manager Paul Holmgren have denied that Timonen is hurt.
He may not be seriously injured but I’m going to bet that he has a few nicks and bruises. We’ll see if Timonen is in the lineup for Wednesday’s game.
Here are a few other things to watch for against the Islanders (Wednesday, 7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet):
-Is there a sense of urgency? The Flyers seriously lacked urgency in their last two contests. They looked pretty good to start in San Jose on Friday but their losses in Phoenix and Colorado were alarming.
-Do the Flyers rally around Boucher? Brian Boucher will be making just his third start of the season on Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum. Ray Emery gave up four goals on Monday night but it was Boucher that was credited with the 5-4 loss to the Avalanche. Boucher looked solid in his half of the game. Emery has given up 13 goals in three games – all losses.
-Will the Flyers play tired? They didn’t arrive in New York until close to 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning and were back on the ice at 2:00 p.m. They could have easily hung in Denver after the game and flown during the day on Tuesday. The way they set up this travel schedule could come back to bite them. This is their first of three tests in four nights.
-Does Marty Biron start in goal for the Islanders? The Flyers could face their starter from last year for the first time. Marty has a 2.85 GAA and a .910 save percentage in 11 games this season.
-The Flyers were a perfect 6-0-0 against the Islanders last season:
2008-09 Results (6-0-0)
Apr. 11: 3-2 W at NYI
Mar. 28: 4-3 W (SO) at NYI
Feb. 14: 5-1 W at PHI
Dec. 9: 4-3 W at PHI
Nov. 11: 3-1 W at NYI
Oct. 30: 3-2 W (OT) PHI
But this year’s Islander team (9-8-7) is much improved. Look out for John Tavares, who is tired for the Islanders’ lead in points with 19. He should be fun to watch for the first time.
Here are a few quotes from Tuesday’s practice:
“Our game against the Islanders is huge but it isn't going to make or break our season. We need to play better for 60 minutes and play with confidence. Tomorrow's game is a chance for us to kind of redeem ourselves after three kind of so-so performances.” –Chris Pronger
"Yes, the travel was a little bit difficult last night. We got in pretty much around 5 am. It will be nice to get home and sleep in your own bed and get back on the winning ways at home. But we have one more game left (tomorrow) and it isn't going to be easy. The end is near but we have to bear down here and have to skate a full 60 minutes tomorrow.” –Scott Hartnell
"I think it is more mental than anything else. It is obviously not going the way we wanted it to go. But if we win tomorrow we could salvage a couple of points out of it and head back home where we feel more comfortable. I think tomorrow is going to be more mental than anything." –Mike Richards
Here are a few interesting stats:
-It is the first time the Flyers have lost three straight games in regulation in over a year (since Nov. 2-8, 2008).
-The Flyers’ record when:
* scoring first: 11-3-1
* leading after 1st period: 5-1-1
* leading after 2nd period: 11-0-1
* out shooting opponent: 8-6-1
* one goal games: 5-3-1
* at home: 8-3-1
* on the road: 4-5-0
* vs. EASTERN Conference: 10-4-0
* Atlantic: 2-1-0
* Northeast: 3-1-0
* Southeast: 5-2-0
* vs. WESTERN Conference: 2-4-1
* Central: 1-0-0
* Pacific: 1-3-1
* Northwest: 0-1-0
-Wednesday’s game is Braydon Coburn’s 200th as a Flyer.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DNFlyers.