The Montreal Canadiens will have a new look up front on Tuesday against Winnipeg as Daniel Briere will skate on the fourth line alongside Travis Moen and Michael Bournival.
According to Briere, he knows what message is being sent.
“Michel [Therrien, head coach] has said it from the start that this is the way it’s going to go,” Briere told the Montreal Gazette. “There are some guys who have stepped up early and they deserve the ice time. In my case, I’ve always been something of a slow starter.
“Right now, I’m getting caught on the outside and it’s up to me to get back in.”
Briere, 36, has just one assist through five games while averaging nearly 16 minutes per night.
What’s curious is that despite his claims, Briere hasn’t historically been a slow starter. Consider this tweet from NHL.com’s Arpon Basu as evidence:
#Habs Brière’s starts: 09-10: 5 G 2 A first 8 GP 10-11: 6 G 2 A 9 GP 11-12: 4 G 6 A 10 GP 12-13: 2 G 2 A 11 GP Not so bad until last season
The way Therrien sees it, the decision to demote isn’t so much about Briere as it is the players around him. Montreal has a number of forwards playing well at the moment — Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher are all at least point-per-game guys thus far — and the reward of playing well is added ice time.
Vice versa for those not playing well.
“We have a lot of depth with our forwards, especially with our wingers,” Therrien explained. “We have to take some decisions and we made a decision to put Daniel on the fourth line.”
In related news, the Habs will get captain Brian Gionta back tonight vs. the Jets after he missed Saturday’s 4-1 win in Vancouver dealing with a personal matter.
John Tortorella had no time for questions after blowout loss (Video)
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Former NHL defenseman Zarley Zalapski has died at age 49, according to the Calgary Flames. No cause of death was given.
Zalapski, a native of Edmonton, played 637 NHL games for Calgary, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Montreal and Philadelphia from 1987 to 2000.
He was with the Flames from 1993 to 1998.
“We are proud that Zarley wore the Flames jersey, made Calgary his home following his playing career, represented our alumni executive and we will always remember him as a member of the Flames family,” Flames president and chief executive officer Ken King said Tuesday in a statement.
“This is a terrible loss of a man with great character who truly loved the game of hockey. We express our sincere condolences to the Zalapski family.”
Zalapski was a member of the Canadian team that finished fourth in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
He had 99 goals, 285 assists and 684 penalty minutes in the NHL. Zalapski was named to the all-rookie team in 1989 and participated in the NHL All-Star Game in 1993.
Zalapski played stints in Austria and Switzerland after his NHL career and appeared in 11 games for the United Hockey League’s Kalamazoo Wings in 2004-05.
He was the fourth overall pick by the Penguins in the 1986 entry draft.
Taylor Hall puts on a show as Devils end Kings’ winning streak
The New Jersey Devils put an end to the Los Angeles Kings’ eight-game winning streak on Tuesday night with a rather convincing 5-1 win.
The Devils dominated in pretty much every aspect of the game, limiting the Kings to just 17 shots on goal and scoring five goals against a team that had not allowed more than two goals (and never more than three) during its winning streak.
The star of the game for the Devils was most certainly forward Taylor Hall.
Hall continued what could be a career year with a pair of goals, including this highlight reel play in the second period that saw him force a turnover, split through the Kings’ defense (including Drew Doughty!), then beat Jonathan Quick with a backhander.
With that performance on Tuesday Hall is now up to 11 goals and 31 total points on the season.
His first year with the Devils wasn’t quite what he or the team wanted, but he has bounced back in a big way this season. His performance, along with the development of young players Nico Hischier, Will Butcher, and Jesper Bratt have the Devils back on track to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.