During the first two post-lockout seasons, the Buffalo Sabres rapidly climbed to hot contender status thanks to their waves of offense starring Danny Briere and their world-class goalie in Ryan Miller.
That deep offensive approach proved unsustainable thanks to the salary cap and cost-conscious owners, so the Sabres eventually said goodbye to Briere (along with Chris Drury) and put their hopes behind Miller that much more.
So Briere moved on with the Philadelphia Flyers, and after some injury-ravaged seasons, he found his game once again. He lead the entire 2010 playoffs in scoring with 30 points and achieved a new career high for goals this season with 34.
He already has two more goals in the playoffs thanks to his willingness to go to the net (despite his measly size) and ability to connect once the puck finds his stick. Miller was complimentary about his former teammate’s knack for getting to the net, but provided a surprising twist when he discussed Briere’s demeanor.
(Then again, maybe we should have seen this coming thanks to Miller’s precedent-setting “Yo Mamma” commercial.)
“Yeah, because it’s all fluff coming from him after the amount of years we’ve known each other. You can’t automatically hit a light switch and be a hard ass to me. It’s not going to do anything.
“I respect his talent and I respect what he wants I try to do out there, and if you try to get the better of each other, and when he gets the better you know it’s the headline. Even though he gets however many chances, if one goes in, it’s a headline.”
For his part, Briere was diplomatic in response. Here’s what he said to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio via text messages.
“Wow,” Briere texted CSNPhilly.com. “He’s definitely getting wrong info. First, I haven’t said a word to him on the ice and off the ice, I’ve only had good things to say about him because of the respect I have for him. So, I’m not gonna play that game with him.”
It’s not exactly as if this series needed much more intrigue, but I was expecting Briere’s Buffalo connections to be a story. He’s saying all the right things, but one must wonder if his goals bother Miller even more than normal considering their history.
I wouldn’t expect them to avoid each other in the handshake circle, but for two to four more games, their interactions might be that much more interesting to follow.