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November 2 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Minutes before Monday night’s game against visiting Carolina, high-scoring center Danny Briere stood outside the Flyers‘ locker room and seemed dumbfounded that he wasn’t able to join his teammates.
Earlier in the day, the NHL suspended Briere for three games because of a hit to the head of the Islanders’ Frans Nielsen after a face-off late in the Flyers’ 6-1 win on Saturday.
Asked if he was surprised by the suspension, Briere said, “It was more of shock. Surprised probably isn’t strong enough. Honestly, I’m shocked. I honestly didn’t think I’d get . . . a game. And then I thought, ‘OK, I’m a repeat offender, he’ll probably give me a game because of it.’ I’m shocked it was more than a game.”
It is the third time Briere has been suspended, which played a role in determining the length of his suspension.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said he wasn’t surprised by the suspension’s length “because of his history.”
In announcing the suspension, which will cost Briere nearly $238,000 in lost salary, the NHL said he was suspended for cross-checking Nielsen.
Briere disagreed with that assessment, saying his glove, not his stick, hit the Islanders forward. Replays appear to show Briere’s stick hitting Nielsen in the head.
The NHL is strictly enforcing shots to the head this season, trying to prevent concussions.
“I made a mistake. My stick was up and I’m the first to admit it. It shouldn’t have been there,” Briere said. “After what [Nielsen] said on the face-off, all I was thinking was that I had to protect myself.”
November 2 Philadelphia Daily News:
“IT IS A GOOD thing Scott Hartnell is the Flyers‘ team representative for the NHL’s players association, because his work conditions are hazardous. Hartnell could have his own episode of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel.
His work area is a confined space – it stretches from just in front of the opposing goaltender’s crease to behind the net and includes dangerous corners.
He is asked to perform straining, repetitive motions – working with the puck in tedious situations that unfold in the blink of an eye.
And he leaves the rink most nights black and blue – abused from the barrage of slashes he takes for standing in traffic.
Make no mistake, Hartnell is well-compensated for his job. But few of his teammates are clamoring to take over his role as the Flyers‘ resident pest in the crease.
Last night, Hartnell’s desire to do the dirty work was the reason the Flyers bumped their season-high winning streak to four games. Hartnell scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 of 28 shots in net as the Flyers topped the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers are now 13-0-3 in their last 16 games against Carolina.
With Danny Briere out of the lineup serving his three-game suspension, Jeff Carter flawlessly moved up to play with Hartnell and Ville Leino. The trio’s chemistry was evident in the game’s first goal, when they found each other with back-to-back-to-back blind backhand passes before Hartnell knocked in his third goal of the season.
November 2 Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood:
“I DON’T KNOW enough about the intricacies of the NHL justice system to say whether the three-game suspension handed down to Danny Briere was too harsh.
In my eyes, it looked as if the hit Briere delivered to the face of the New York Islanders’ Frans Nielsen on Saturday was tough to defend.
Still, in the big picture, there is something to like about Briere’s reaction, one of aggression against an opponent he thought was trying to intimidate him.
Briere said that before the faceoff, Nielsen had punched him in the back of the head and then, as they lined up, Nielsen cursed him.
“I told him, ‘What are you doing? I know you are frustrated, but what are you trying to prove?’ ” Briere said.
“That’s when he crossed the circle and gets in my face to tell me stuff . . . I’ve had what, two or three fights in my life, in my career?
“It was some sort of challenge. I had to protect myself.”
This is what it will be like this season for the Flyers. Things have changed now they have raised that 2009-10 Eastern Conference championship banner.
They are a Stanley Cup finalist. They are the alpha dog of the Eastern Conference now, and every game, some lesser wolf will issue a challenge.
That’s why there is something good to be found in Briere’s suspension. Obviously, you don’t want to react in a way that gets you a suspension. Still, you don’t back down.
November 2 Philadelphia Daily News:
“AFTER HE hung up from the call that summoned him to Philadelphia, Eric Wellwood said he needed almost an hour to stop shaking.
With Danny Briere suspended for three games for a crosscheck during Saturday night’s game against the Islanders, and Andreas Nodl out with a shoulder injury, Wellwood, 20, was recalled from Adirondack on Sunday to make his NHL debut last night against Carolina.
“It caught me off-guard,” Wellwood explained. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that to happen, but it did.”
Wellwood, in his first professional season, probably was thrilled to escape the turmoil unfolding in AHL Adirondack this week. The Flyers sent Phantoms leading scorer Pat Maroon packing and issued warnings to other players on the team with behavioral questions.
Wellwood had three goals and one assist in his first 11 games with the Phantoms. He saw action in two Flyers preseason games, contributing one assist.
Last night, he took Nodl’s place on a line with Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk. He played 13:47 and took a team-high six shots.
“He has a lot of speed,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “I remember an opportunity where he got to play some minutes – it was in Toronto – and he did real good. He’s able to generate offense. He’s a smart player. I think his speed is an advantage. It should help our game.”
Wellwood was a Flyers‘ sixth-round pick in 2009. He played on the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires last season, on a line with No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall, who now plays for the Edmonton Oilers. That helped his exposure.
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