PITTSBURGH _ After the morning skate, Flyers center Danny Briere was coy, saying he couldn’t answer any questions about whether he was playing in Game 1 on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
His smile and the way he practiced, however, implied he was indeed playing.
About an hour later, GM Paul Holmgren confirmed that Briere (back spasms) and defenseman Nick Grossmann (knee) would indeed play Wednesday.
Earlier, center Claude Giroux removed all doubts.
“If he plays the way he can _ and I have no doubt for him _ I think he’s (a big addition),” Giroux said. “In the last two practices, he’s been flying out there, and he just finds a way to get it done.”
"I feel better and better every day," Briere said.
Briere, who had just 16 goals during an injury-plagued year, has been Mr. Post-Season throughout his career.
“He’s a difference-maker,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “…The bigger the circumstances, the bigger the performance. Since I’ve been here, that’s my take on Danny. Give him something to thrive in, and he thrives.”
In his four post-seasons with the Flyers, Briere has 29 goals and 59 points in 57 games.
"Danny's a clutch performer. He's playoff-tested, and that's where he plays his best hockey," winger Wayne Simmonds said.
Briere, 34, is expected to center Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.
"He brings soemthing different to the table," Schenn said of Briere. "Our line seemed to have some chemistry going before he got hurt."
"I like our depth. I know people are probably saying there's a lot of rookies on this team, and you don't know how they're going to answer," he said. "I actually think these guys are going to be excited to prove themselves, just like they did in the beginning of the year _ to prove they had a place on this team. I think our youth is going to give us energy and take us a long way."
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.