Flyers’ Briere accepts challenge of an oncoming rebuild

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Flyers' Daniel Briere
FILE – Danny Briere speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Voorhees, N.J. The Philadelphia Flyers have fired general manager Chuck Fletcher and promoted former franchise great Danny Briere to the interim job, according to a person familiar with the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday, March 10, 2023, because the move had not officially been announced. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The recent news sent a shockwave across Philadelphia. After about four seasons as the Philadelphia Flyers president and general manager, Chuck Fletcher was relieved of his duties.

Fired is the more accurate term, and if you ask the Flyers fans, it should’ve happened earlier. It’ll be the third season in a row that they’ll miss the postseason, the second-longest drought in franchise history.

In his wake, Daniel Briere is taking over the role in the interim. It’s a trial phase for Briere. He’s well respected both in the front office and by the fanbase.

“First of all, I want to start by thanking Dave Scott for trusting me and giving me this opportunity. I had the chance to work with Dave closely, with the Mariners, when I started my second career after stepping off the ice, and then in the last couple years too with the Flyers. I want to thank Chuck Fletcher as well for the chance and opportunity; including me on the staff in the past season. It is a true honor to be in this role, I’ve been a Flyer for a big part of my career. I love the Flyers, I love the logo; I’ve spent a lot of days, a lot of sweat, [and] a lot of sacrifice for this organization.”

Daniel Briere; 3/12/2023

Briere joined the Flyers in the 2007-2008 season, and the team made him the highest-paid player in the NHL. He finished second on the team in scoring with 72 points in his first season. Briere retired from playing hockey in 2015 but stayed close to the sport. Former team president Paul Holmgren served as a front-office mentor for Briere.

“I have a lot of respect for, I assume you’re talking about Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, and Paul Holmgren; I have a lot of respect for those guys for what they’ve accomplished in their career both on and off the ice. I’ve had a quick chat with them, but at this point, that’s all that’s happened. We’ll see moving forward what happens there.”

Daniel Briere; 3/12/2023

Briere matched well with Philadelphia from the get-go. He helped with rookie and player development in the Flyers’ system for two seasons. After spending time in the ECHL, he was a finalist in January 2022 for the general manager role with the Montreal Canadiens. However, the Flyers kept him close before naming him the special assistant to the former general manager, Fletcher.

Briere likely sheds the interim title, becoming the official general manager. Upon speaking today, he made it clear that this is a rebuild.

“I don’t have a problem with the interim tag. I like that Dave and his staff are going to take the proper time to evaluate who should be full-time in that position. I see myself staying here and being part of the future; I hope they believe in me as well. It feels that way.”

Daniel Briere; 3/12/2023

Briere acknowledges the Flyers are a mess; seventh in the Metropolitan Division with 24 wins. Both he and head coach John Tortorella is on the same page. They both understand the work that’ll go into making Philadelphia competitive, and in time, return to the NHL postseason and Stanley Cup playoffs. The Flyers’ goal should be to finish the season strong.

“There’s a lot to like about John, but I think what really was striking was how he was gonna’ rebuild the culture. We’re looking at the last couple years, it was tough to watch at times. We were an easy team to play against and you don’t realize how important culture is until you lose it. We interviewed a lot of great candidates; guys that were probably great coaches and could have done the job, but in my mind, I felt John Tortorella was the perfect guy at this time to get us back on track.”

Daniel Briere; 3/12/2023

Should the interim title be removed, Briere will only be the general manager. The Flyers will find someone else to fill the role of president. He’s thinking long-term about the best past moving forward; addressing the need to draft the right prospects, signing and trading for healthy players. Each move will be for keeping talent in Philadelphia moving forward instead of watching the franchise fall behind.

“It needs to be done the right way. At this point, that’s what’s needed. That’s what’s going to be important moving forward, not rushing to things. We’re gonna’ keep evaluating players, we’ll have a lot of discussions in which direction we’re gonna’ move, but there’s no doubt that this is not a quick fix, in my mind. It’s going to take a little while, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean we’re gonna’ do a full fire sale and have a complete new team next year. There’s a lot of good players, there’s a lot of good young players on this team.”

Daniel Briere; 3/12/2023

No one in Philadelphia can take shortcuts.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)