Monday, August 17, 2015

Briere retires from NHL

PHILADELPHIA - Former Flyers star Danny Briere, known for his standout playoff performances, announced his retirement as an NHL player on Monday after a 17-year professional career that included 973 games.

“After taking a few weeks to think about it, it’s time to hang them up and spend a little more time at home with the family,” Briere said.  “I’ve been very, very fortunate to have a chance to play with some great organizations, but at this point the family becomes a priority. 

"The Flyers are where I played the bulk of my career. I’ve had a great time in Philadelphia and have been very, very fortunate to have the chance to play here. I would like to thank Mr. Snider, Paul Holmgren and Peter Luukko along with the coaches, staff, the fans and all my teammates. It’s been a great ride in an area that I still call home.”

Briere, 37, recorded 307 goals and 389 assists for 696 points with the Phoenix Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Flyers, Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche. 

The native of Gatineau, Quebec was originally a first-round selection (24th overall) of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, which came following an exceptional 1995-96 junior season for Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

On July 1, 2007, upon the opening of free agency, the Flyers signed Briere to an eight-year contract.  He finished second on the team in scoring in 2007-08, recording 72 points (31G, 41A) to help a revitalized Flyers squad rebound from its worst season ever to a trip to the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals.

Briere led the Flyers in scoring that playoff season with 16 points (9G, 7A) as they took out the third-seeded Washington Capitals in seven games and the first-seeded Montreal Canadiens in five games.

Briere lost all but 29 games of the 2008-09 season to a nagging abdominal injury, but still recorded 25 points (11G, 14A) in those 29 games.  In 2009-10, Briere put up 53 points (26G, 27A) in 75 games, but his greatest contribution that season came in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.  Briere led the NHL and set a new franchise record with 30 points (12G, 18A) in 23 games, eclipsing the record of 28 set by Brian Propp in 1987.  Four of the 12 goals were game-winners.

The 2010-11 season was Briere’s best regular-season performance as a Flyer.  He recorded his fourth and final career 30-goal season, putting up 34 goals and 34 assists for 68 points in 77 games while representing the team at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.  He put up another seven goals in 11 playoff games before the Flyers fell to Boston in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.  After a 49-point season in 2011-12, Briere put up another stellar playoff performance with 13 points (8G, 5A), including an overtime game-winner in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. New Jersey.

Following the shortened 2012-13 season, the Flyers exercised a salary cap compliance buyout of Briere’s contract.  He then signed with Montreal, where he posted 25 points (13G, 12A) in 2013-14 and had one final impressive playoff run, posting seven points (3G, 4A) in 16 postseason games. 

Briere recorded 68 points (36G, 32A) in 62 career playoff games with the Flyers, giving him an average of 1.10  points per playoff game.  He is one of just five Flyers to average more than one point per playoff game (minimum five games), joining Peter Forsberg (1.33, 6 GP), Ken Linseman (1.29, 41 GP), Eric Lindros (1.14, 50 GP), and Claude Giroux (1.07, 57 GP).  The 68 points rank him eighth in playoff scoring on the Flyers All-Time List, and the 36 goals rank him seventh in franchise history.  His nine career playoff game-winning goals rank him second in franchise history behind only Rick MacLeish (10).

Over the course of his entire NHL career, Briere recorded 116 points (53G, 63A) in 124 career playoff games.  The 53 goals tie him with Jeremy Roenick and Bill Barber for 45th on the NHL’s All-Time List. 

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