Danny Briere will meet with the NHL disciplinarians via conference call at 10:00 a.m. on Monday for his involvement in this tag team smash up of New York's Frans Nielsen on Saturday night. The Flyers have confirmed this.
I didn't have a great look at this last night at the game, as I only saw it unfold live and didn't have a great look at a replay because it's hard to look away from Rick DiPietro challenging the whole Flyers team to a duel just to get a look at a replay. (Clearly, the MSG announcers didn't really see it well either, thinking Dan Carcillo did all the damage.) Watching it on video, however, it's obvious Briere will be out of the lineup for at least Monday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, perhaps more.
Here's what Briere had to say about the incident after the game.
[Nielsen] was mad because we were two on Gillies in front of the net a few faceoffs before and all I was trying to do was hold his arm because he was trying to hit Coburn, and obviously, we didn't want anybody fighting Gillies. We wanted to leave him on the ice. So all I was trying to do was hold his arm to protect Coburn a bit.
[On the faceoff with 1:02 left] Nielsen called me a few expletive words and didn't appreciate that I was doing that and the faceoff before he did the same thing to me. He came over with his stick, had me in a head lock. So I didn't know what he was doing. I just wanted to keep my hands high and try to protect myself.
While that certainly doesn't excuse Briere's cross-check to Nielsen's face, it's at least a bit comforting to know that he didn't do it just because Nielsen was mouthing off. If you believe Briere's side of the story (and, honestly, since his team was the one up by five, not throwing a hissy fit, you probably should at least take into consideration Briere's side of the story), he didn't know what Nielsen was going to do off that faceoff.
Given Danny's history of getting agitated, I'm sure the truth falls somewhere in the middle. In any event, neither party was innocent here, and because of that, I have no problem with Dan Carcillo coming over and being the muscles on Nielsen during the play. His best offensive player is getting screamed at by a guy who's pissed off and losing 6-1, and he's a guy that did the same thing a few shifts earlier with Briere. Briere is right -- you can't be all that sure what Nielsen is going to do in that situation.
Carcillo bolted over and decked Nielsen, who had already been at his knees thanks to the hit from Briere. In that circumstance, it looks like a two-on-one hit job. When you get behind the reasoning for it -- that Carcillo was heading over to protect his leading scorer in a blow out game with a minute left against a team that had already checked their pride at the door -- I don't blame him one bit.
As Carcillo said after the game, "Better me than Danny Briere, right?"
Briere will be the one who's suspended, however, and rightfully so. The only question now is how long he'll be sitting. We'll find out on Monday morning.