The Flyers impressive 4-1 win in New Jersey this afternoon didn’t come without a hefty price tag. Immediately after the victory, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that Daniel Briere suffered a concussion and he will be out indefinitely. For those masochists who are counting, that brings the Flyers concussion total to six this season—and we aren’t even to the all-star break yet.
The most troubling part of Briere’s concussion is that the organization (and Briere himself) has no idea when the concussion occurred. Straight from Sarah Baicker at CSNPhilly.com:
“Through Flyers PR staff, Briere said he had no clue when he was hit or how the concussion happened. He returned to the game after the Volchenkov hit in the first period. But in addition to that hit, Briere was punched head-on by winger Patrik Elias.”
Not only does he have a concussion, but no one knows how it happened.
Briere is only the latest in a long list of Flyers that has been diagnosed with a concussion during this nightmare season. Captain Chris Pronger has already been diagnosed with a concussion and is out for the rest of the season. Superstar center Claude Giroux lost a handful of games in the middle of 24/7 filming, Brayden Schenn has struggled to get his NHL career started this season due to injuries (including a concussion), and James van Riemsdyk is currently sidelined. Mix in Matt Read, and the Flyers have been scrambling to fill holes all season.
There is never a good time for an organization to find out that one of their leaders has a concussion, but it’s even worse when it’s the day before a game against the defending Stanley Cup champs. After the game against the Bruins, the Flyers will travel down to Florida for a game against the Panthers before they head to the All-Star break. By that time, we should have a better idea of the severity of the concussion.
Shutouts are becoming common Broadway these days. On Tuesday night, Henrik Lundqvist pitched his fourth shutout of the season – and the sixth shutout for the Rangers this season. But a far rarer occasion greeted members of the media after the game: Rangers’ owner James Dolan spoke to the Rangers media.
It’s peculiar that a shutout in January against the Nashville Predators would pull Dolan into the spotlight. Dolan hasn’t formally addressed the Rangers media in six seasons—so when he speaks, it tends to get people’s attention. He didn’t disappoint.
“… Glen [Sather] and I made a pact,” Dolan told members of the media. “I gave him something, which I won’t reveal today, but I gave him something to seal the pact. I said ‘You can’t give it back to me until we win the Stanley Cup.’ And I think we’re pretty close to getting that thing back.”
But wait, there’s more. Aside from telling the world that he thinks the Rangers are “pretty close” to winning the Cup, he went on to wax poetically about the greatness of general manager Glen Sather:
“For me it’s all about the system he built — of course its great coaching — but it’s about the farm system, the scouting system and the development — going with kids — and sticking with that philosophy even at times when it didn’t look so good.” Dolan told reporters. “So, I’m very proud of him and the organization.”
Predictably, John Tortorella brought the hammer down after Dolan’s lofty comments. “I have my owner up here talking about a Stanley Cup. That’s a bunch of bull—-. We need to take one game at a time.”
In summation: the Rangers owner thinks his team is close to winning the Stanley Cup, he thinks his general manager put together a great organization from top to bottom, and John Tortorella is still awesome.
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If all the Michigan rumors are true, this isn’t going to be your average Winter Classic. As if there was an emerging routine for outdoor spectacles, the 2013 Winter Classic is proving to pose more problems than just the average weather and revenue questions. Last week we heard that the league was considering the idea of splitting the festivities between Comerica Park in Detroit and the Big House (pardon me, Michigan Stadium) in Ann Arbor. Now we’re hearing from the university that just the game on January 1 still comes some serious obstacles.
University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon spoke out earlier this week: “When we were approached (by the NHL), I thought this could be a great opportunity. But boy, doesn’t it have a lot of complications, and I still feel that way.”
So what are the problems? Where do we start…?
Among the problems posed by a game on New Year’s Day is that the stadium usually closes up for the winter when the University of Michigan’s football season ends (at home) at the end of November. There are concerns about the game being played on a holiday – and people don’t usually work on the holiday. The university also has concerns about being able to find enough people to support the event (infrastructure and attendance) because the football team could possibly be playing on the same day in a warm-weather market.
And then there’s the booze issue:
“It is a university issue and a state law issue. This is not a venue that has a liquor license to operate on a day-in, day-out period like a lot of other sporting venues.”
The infrastructure and scheduling conflicts are all important, but issues with the liquor license? How would all those hockey fans keep themselves warm during an outdoor game in January?
Clearly, there are issues that still need to be remedied. A.D. Brandon summed up the conversations as such: “We’re still having conversations. It’s a work in progress. We’ll see if we can work it out.” Good thing there’s still about 50 weeks before the teams would take the ice.