UPDATE (1:45 pm EST): According to a league source, no hearing has been scheduled by the NHL for Vlasic's hit on Danny Briere in Tuesday's loss to San Jose. It does not appear that one will be scheduled, either, since the Sharks are back in action tomorrow, and Brendan Shanahan rarely does game-day hearings with the exception of back-to-back situations.
Therefore, it appears a suspension is not coming for the hit.
The video has been reviewed and the general consensus is that Briere slowed down and braced himself with Vlasic coming, as you can see his skates are in a stopping motion. Vlasic then extends his hands more to brace himself rather than with the purpose of driving Briere into the boards.
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Marc-Edouard Vlasic is not the heir to the Vlasic pickle throne.
Yet, Vlasic nearly canned Flyers forward Danny Briere - to be put on the shelf - with a dirty hit that required Briere to be helped off the ice by a trainer with 4:52 left in the third period on Tuesday night at the Shark Tank.
The lack of a penalty call on the hit, in the waning moments, likely played a role in the outcome. In fact, there were just 6 total penalty minutes doled out by referees Marc Joannette and Mike Leggo, the lowest combined amount of any Flyers game this season.
Today, it’s hard to see how Vlasic will avoid hearing from Brendan Shanahan for supplementary discipline. As is league policy, the hit will be reviewed today by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
The video, below for your perusal, shows Vlasic pushing Briere from behind head-first into the boards. Briere hits the boards with the top of his head, as his neck absorbs the brunt of the blow and he slides down to the ice.
Amazingly, Briere returned to the game in the final minutes after a breather on the bench. He spent much of his time post-game in the trainer’s room.
“I wasn’t expecting to be bulldozed there,” Briere said. “It was a dangerous play, there’s no doubt about it. Usually when you’re in a vulnerable position like that, guys will try to bear-hug you or go around you. It was scary. I think I got fortunate that it wasn’t worse than it is. I knew there was someone coming, but I just didn’t think I was going to get run over like that.”
Briere said that he did not undergo an ImPACT baseline concussion test on the hit, though judging based on his comments below, it may not have been a bad idea for a player who is just 3 weeks back from a concussion.
“I was just lost there,” Briere explained. “Kind of flipped around, too. I think I was just dizzy there for a few minutes. I didn’t even know what happened until I saw the video.
“I feel good enough at this point. We don’t play [today], so I’ll see how it is.”
His status for Thursday's game against the Islanders is unknown, but Briere said he didn't see why he wouldn't play. Usually, the test after a big hit is how a player is feeling the next day. The Flyers were scheduled to fly out of San Jose at 11 o'clock Pacific on Wednesday.
Both Briere and coach Peter Laviolette were politically correct after the game, showing restraint when discussing the hit. Neither the coach or the player called for a suspension.
The one thing that Vlasic has going for him is that the play did seem to slow down a bit just before reaching the boards. Vlasic does put on the brakes a little bit.
Plus, Briere and Vlasic do have a little bit of history. Briere has fought just 3 times in his NHL career. One of those scraps was with the man the Sharks call “Pickles,” back on Nov. 20, 2009, in the Flyers’ last game in San Jose.
In my eyes, Vlasic did not do a good enough job of turning Briere around at the boards to remove him from a vulnerable position. Instead, Vlasic extends his arms and sends him flying.
“I’m not going to speak for Brendan,” Briere said. “He’s done a great job all year, especially when guys are in a vulnerable position. I’ll let him make the call.
“It should have been a penalty. But I think the refs were fair on both sids. There were probably a couple calls that we got away with, too.”
For Briere, the hit and result were a disappointing ending to one of his best games in a while. After going scoreless for 17 straight games, Briere was dropped to the fourth line with Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo. It ended up being one of the Flyers’ best lines of the night, until Briere was bumped to play with others.
“We had some chances,” Briere said. “We kept our game simple. Tried to get it behind their defensemen and put them to work. We did that first two periods. Still nothing on the scoresheet and that’s the disappointing part. The only way I know how to get out of a slump is to keep working. That’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers