The Flyers open their training camp Sept. 17 _ and Danny Briere, coming off a sensational playoff performance, is anxious to begin.
Briere sat down with the Flyers' PR staff Friday for a Q and A:
Q: Danny, are you back in town to stay?
DB: “Yes, I’m back in town and will be ready for the start of training camp. I might leave town here and there for charity events but for the most part I’m back to stay. I am so excited to be back, too. I’m looking forward to the new season. Yes, the break was short because we played so long but that is a good problem to have. I’m sure I speak for a lot of the other guys, but for me, the playoff run was so much fun. All the emotion and the way we came together as a team was really special. I’m so excited for this season to begin.”
Q: It looks like you lost weight. Did you?
DB: “My weight, which is 170 pounds right now, is actually the same as when we were playing in the playoffs last season. I had some personal issues to deal with during the first half of the season last year and I lost a lot of weight. I was able to gain a little bit more going down the stretch. But I’m still about 10 pounds lighter than I have been the last three training camps. After the way things went in the playoffs last year I decided it worked out well at this weight and I wanted to stay at this weight. I’m a little lighter and I wanted to work a little more on my quickness. Obviously, I’m not a guy who is around here for fighting. My assets are my quickness and I feel being 10 pounds lighter should help me for next season.”
Q: Do you feel better/healthier at 170 pounds?
DB: “I do feel a lot better hovering around 170 right now. I feel lighter and quicker on the ice. I just started skating and I definitely feel a different compared to when I started at last year’s training camp.”
Q: You set a Flyers franchise record for playoff scoring in a single season last year. Did you expect to be that effective in the playoffs?
DB: “No, not at all. Things got rolling. The first playoff series against New Jersey was tough to get going. I don’t think me and Jeff Carter had a single point in the first three games of that series. Then we got hit by some injuries and we needed some guys to step up. I was asked to play a bigger role and was given more responsibilities. My confidence grew with these added responsibilities. I felt good and all of a sudden Peter (Laviolette) ended up putting me, Scott Hartnell, who had somewhat of a tough year like I did, and Ville Leino, who barely played up to that point, together. There probably wasn’t much expected from our line but for some reason chemistry set in right away and things got rolling. It was amazing. It is one of the best feelings in the world when every shift you are going out there you have the feeling you are going to make something happen and you have the chance to score. I know I had a blast playing with those two guys in the playoffs. I am praying that the chemistry stays right off the get-go at the start of next season.”
Q: You set a franchise record for playoff scoring and Ville set a franchise record for playoff scoring for a rookie. Do you think this confidence can carry over to this upcoming season?
DB: “It is not going to happen on its own. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done amongst us. But the one thing that you can’t force right away is chemistry. You either have instant chemistry or you don’t. We had it right from the get-go. We have that on our side. I believe if we work hard it seems that the three of us will be on the right path. But all said, yes, I think we can pick up where we left off in the playoffs.”
Q: What are the team’s expectations and what are your personal expectations for this season?
DB: “For the team there is no other way around it. We have to get back to where we were. We were two wins away from our goal of bringing this city a Stanley Cup. That’s the goal again, the Stanley Cup. There is no doubt about it. I think we have every element in place for that to happen. We need some breaks here and there to go our way. But I seriously believe that we have a team that can get back there and maybe even improve. For me personally, I honestly don’t know. I want to have fun. I want to get back to where the way our line was playing with me, Ville and Scott. Right now, that is all I am hoping for.”
Q: Will this team miss Simon Gagne?
DB: “Yes. He was a big piece. There’s no doubt about it. He was a big part of this team for a long time. But we replaced him with some new players. Leadership-wise, I think we will be fine. Sean O’Donnell has been in the league for a long time. He knows a few of the players in the locker room. On the ice we have guys like Claude Giroux, van Riemsdyk, Zherdev and even me, Scott and Ville to a certain extent. We have to step up to the plate from last year and pick up some of the slack left from Simon’s departure.”