Briere expected to make tough decisions to help overhaul Flyers

Flyers interim general manager Daniel Briere. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Flyers interim general manager Daniel Briere. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Flyers fans loved Danny Briere as a player, an undersized spark plug who scored clutch goals and gave everything he had.

So, as the Flyers head into one of their most important off-seasons, one of their biggest questions is … Danny Briere, interim general manager.

There is major work to be done to improve the on-ice product. Decisions must be made on which players to trade, cut or keep. The Flyers aren’t exactly the 1985 Edmonton Oilers — or the 1985 Flyers, for that matter.

That we know. What we don’t know is how Briere will operate. Can he make tough and necessary decisions? Can he make enough of them to drive the Flyers back to respectability?

Management group

Briere will be part of a group trying to rebuild the Flyers along with coach John Tortorella and a new president of hockey operations. They face a task as daunting as any in the NHL.

Briere played 17 years in the NHL — including six seasons in Philadelphia — retiring after the 2014-15 season. That’s plenty of time to transition to management. Briere has worked in management since 2017, with the ECHL Maine Mariners and in the Flyers’ front office.

But there is a unique brotherhood in the locker room, the place where Briere spent most of his life. Forever friendships are formed. Players sweat together, bleed together, fight for each other. Only players understand what’s required to get through a season.

How will that unbreakable bond influence Briere? Will he be ruthless when it comes to cutting players? Will he be compassionate?

Will he make business decisions based on business alone, and not personal feelings?

At this point, the Flyers need sober evaluation. They need a steely eye and a strong gut. They need to look at each player dispassionately. Does he fit? Is he someone they want wearing the Flyers’ sweater long-term? Is he a plus or minus player on and off the ice?

Rebuilding can be painful. Fans are impatient and the team is, too. Everyone wants success. For most of their existence, the Flyers have enjoyed tremendous success. They are one of the premier franchises in the NHL.

They desperately want to return to that glory. They want the packed houses at the Wells Fargo Center. They want to hear the “Let’s go Flyers” chants roaring through the building.

They don’t want to watch invading Bruins fans chanting “We want the Cup” in their home building, as embarrassingly happened earlier this month in South Philly.

Briere, Tortorella on same page with Flyers' rebuild. light. Related Story

So far, Briere is saying the right things — starting with the gutty admission the team is indeed in a rebuild. That should give this loyal fanbase hope.

Like anything, watch what they do, not what they say. Decisions made by Briere and the rebuild team will be viewed closely and with many skeptical eyes.

Any success will be judged coldly — on a sheet of ice 200-feet long and 85-feet wide.