NHL journeyman and former Sabres Captain Daniel Briere retired before this season began. Before tonight’s Flyers-Sabres game in Philly, the two foes teamed up to honor a man that had a big impact on both teams.
Briere lead the Sabres through both the lows and highs of the mid 2000s, then went to Philadelphia and led the Flyers to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in his first year there. He scored 230 points with the Sabres from 2003-2007 and 267 with the Flyers from 2007-2013. He retired with 696 career points.
Danny Briere is fondly remembered in Buffalo. He came to the Sabres from Phoenix in 2003 in exchange for Chris Gratton. Despite the Sabres being aamidst a rebuild when he arrived, Briere quickly matured into one of the League’s best players and eventually became Buffalo’s co-Captain alongside Chris Drury. After the Lockout that cancelled what would have been the 2004-05 season, the Sabres exploded in 2005-06, defying every expectation and coming one game short of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. The following season, the Sabres stunned everyone yet again when the team won 53 games, the President’s Trophy, and again made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Briere was at the heart of those two incredible seasons, his clutch play and Drury’s calm leadership propelled the team from afterthoughts to the limelight of the League. Both he and Drury departed after 2007 and it was evident that the team was not the same without them.
In addition to his prowess in the regular season, Briere is also one of the most clutch post-season performers in NHL history. In 124 playoff games, Briere scored 53 goals and 116 points. In addition to taking the Sabres to the Conference Finals twice, he appeared in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Flyers. To Sabres’ fans, his most memorable playoff moment was in Game 6 of the 2006 ECF, when he scored the OT goal on Cam Ward that sent the injury-riddled Sabres to a 7th game.
I’m not really sure why, but for some reason when I was younger I didn’t care for Briere too much. But, as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate how good he was for the Sabres, both on and off the ice. He will always have a special place in the memory of the Sabres and the team’s fans everywhere. Thank you Danny Briere for all you did, you had a terrific career.