Daniel Briere

Briere takes blame for concussion: “I’ve survived for 15 years in this league avoiding big hits”


On Tuesday Flyers center Daniel Briere skated for the second time since suffering a concussion on Jan. 21 against New Jersey. Following the skate, he spoke with the Courier-Post about the injury and, in a frank and honest admission, blamed himself for the concussion.

“The thing that was frustrating was I’ve survived for 15 years in this league avoiding big hits like I took that day,” Briere said of the five knocks he absorbed against New Jersey, three from defenseman Anton Volchenkov. “I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t see ‘em coming. I know [Volchenkov’s] good at it, but usually that’s part of my game. I’m able to protect myself and I never saw him coming.”

Briere’s suffered concussions in the past, though none as severe as this most recent one. That, along with watching teammate Chris Pronger struggle with post-concussion symptoms, is a big reason why the 34-year-old’s taking a methodical recovery approach.

“That’s the thing with concussions,” Briere said. “You just have to hope for the best. You just never know from one day to the next what it’s going to bring. I’m trying to ramp up the workload every day. Sunday I did a workout off the ice. Yesterday, I went on the ice for about half a practice and today we pushed it a little bit more.

“Now we just have to hope the next day will be good and I’m still symptom free and you can push it to the next level.”

From a leadership standpoint, getting Briere back will be huge for the Flyers. He’s their assistant captain and one of the team’s longest-serving players and while there’s not quite a leadership vacuum yet, there’s certainly something missing between Briere and Pronger, the Flyers captain.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.