Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils - Game Three

Report: Flyers’ Danny Briere could return this weekend…maybe


The Philadelphia Flyers are off to an 0-3 start to begin the lockout-shortened 48-game regular season and have scored just three goals in that span.

But there could be good news – or at least better news – on the horizon.

Right winger Danny Briere, 35, could return to the Flyers lineup this weekend, according to a report on

“I felt a little better again, today,” Briere told

“It seems every time I have been skating, I take the next step, but then there is something else that prevents me from going too hard or all out.

Briere, who scored eight times and contributed 13 points overall in 11 post-season games for Philadelphia last year, injured his wrist while playing in Germany during the NHL lockout.

The pending Briere return comes at a time when the Flyers are struggling to find any scoring at all.

The Flyers, after losses to Pittsburgh and Buffalo on the weekend, fell 3-0 to the New Jersey Devils, last year’s Stanley Cup finalists, on the road.

Travis Zajac, David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk – on a penalty shot – scored for the Devils.

And, of course, fans, media and former players are taking notice. Twitter, as it does most nights in the NHL, lit up with chatter of the Flyers’ current ineptitude.

The Devils, on the other hand, didn’t have Zach Parise in the lineup. He signed that 13-year, $98 million deal with the Minnesota Wild during the summer. Adam Henrique, one of three Calder Trophy finalists last season, is also seven-to-10 days away from returning from thumb surgery.

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks