THE FLYERS have never been confused as a patient, let's play-our-way-out-of-it franchise.
Paul Holmgren's hands were tied Tuesday. Matt Read is on the shelf for another 5 weeks with torn rib muscles. Tye McGinn will miss at least the next 2 weeks with a fractured orbital bone, suffered on Monday.
Simon Gagne, obtained Tuesday in a trade with Los Angeles, is not a permanent fix. He is a player who, when healthy, may be better than even the Flyers are expecting. He will provide a temporary stopgap in Peter Laviolette's lineup.
If the Wells Fargo Center press-box seating chart is any indication, Holmgren has been working the phones like a mad man. There were 21 scouts at Monday night's loss to Toronto, representing 15 clubs, including the general managers of Winnipeg and St. Louis.
Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Nothing is burning with the Jets. Their general manager, Kevin Cheveldayoff, and his executive staff showed up Monday only because their team was still on the East Coast after Saturday's contest in Philly.
The Blues are a different story. General manager Doug Armstrong visited Philadelphia for the second time in three home games, and also caught the Flyers in Toronto on Feb. 11.
According to sources, Armstrong has been asking for forward Danny Briere. He isn't the only one. Boston inquired about Briere last week, among others.
Briere, 35, is one player who isn't going anywhere. The Flyers have not asked Briere to waive his no-trade clause, and it isn't clear whether they're interested in moving him, but he provided an answer Tuesday.
Briere has a full no-movement clause - meaning he can't even be sent to the minors without his permission - and will not waive it to be dealt to any team in the NHL, regardless of destination.
"I don't want to comment on anything at this point," Briere told the Daily News. "Trades are not my department. I've been a Flyer for a long time. My heart belongs in Philadelphia with the Flyers. I can't see myself playing anywhere else."
Briere makes sense for a lot of reasons for a team like St. Louis - and even for the Flyers to be intrigued enough to move him. Currently, Briere isn't the type of player who will get a team into the playoffs, but getting there isn't likely the problem for the Blues. (They could use a boost up front, especially after Andy McDonald left practice Tuesday with an injury.)
He's still the NHL's most clutch performer, with 109 points in 108 career playoff games. In 68 playoff games with the Flyers, Briere has 37 goals and 35 assists.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock probably has a hard time forgetting Briere's playoff magic from 2005-06, when Briere's Buffalo team knocked off the Flyers in six games. After winning a tough Central Division last season, St. Louis was swept in the second round by Los Angeles.
Most important, for a franchise like St. Louis where finances matter, Briere's $6.5 million cap hit does not match his remaining salary. He is owed $3 million next season and $2 million in 2014-15.
Understandably, Briere doesn't have interest in moving. This isn't a rental situation, where he'd only have to gut it out this season before becoming a free agent. His family is rooted here, including his three hockey-mad sons, Caelan, Carson and Cameron. He earned his right to veto any future deal when signing his 8-year, $52 million pact to join the Flyers in 2007.
The Flyers are interested in Blues blue-liner Kevin Shattenkirk, but it would take a lot more than Briere to pry him. Shattenkirk, 24, is second in team scoring with 15 points in 18 games.
For a 9-11-1 Flyers team seemingly begging for a major shakeup to get in gear, any attempt to move Briere will not be the answer. Despite questions Tuesday wondering if Peter Laviolette's message is still getting through, Holmgren appears married to his coach.
Laviolette is seventh in franchise history with 242 games behind the Flyers' bench, but can shoot up to third if he hangs for the next 27 games. That would tell you he is at a breaking point many others haven't survived.
A trade might make more sense. Holmgren admitted Tuesday the Flyers have holes in their lineup - and that's due to both injuries and performance. It will take moving a key piece to get one in return. Adding Gagne bought Holmgren breathing room. For now.
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