Flyers

Mr. Playoffs, just like Danny Briere? Carson Briere all about getting better in Flyers orange

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Zack Hill, Philadelphia Flyers/AP Images

Mr. Playoffs, just like Danny Briere? Carson Briere all about getting better in Flyers orange

VOORHEES, N.J. — When you hear the name Briere around Philadelphia, it would make sense to think back to "Mr. Playoffs" himself, Danny Briere. But when the list of prospects was released just a few days prior to kicking off this year’s Flyers development camp, a different Briere caught everyone’s attention.

Carson Briere, one of three sons to the former Flyers' center, received an invitation to attend camp but his dad made it known right away that he had no influence on the decision.

“[Assistant general manager Brent Flahr] reached out to me and asked if Carson would be interested," Briere said Wednesday.

"It was out of the blue, I didn’t expect it. It was pretty cool for me, too, but I’m sure it was really special for him. He grew up here, he grew up with the Flyers. For him, I’m sure it’s special — a special time this week.” 

More recently, Briere spent the majority of his past two seasons with the Johnstown Tomahawks. While it took him a while to get the hang of things, once he found his groove, the 5-foot-9 19-year-old was nearly unstoppable.

His numbers speak for themselves as Briere led his team in points (44 goals, 45 assists) and had 20 more goals than the next-closest player on the team. His 89 points were good enough for second most in the entire NAHL. 

A family affair for the Brieres 

It’s safe to say that the hockey gene runs strongly within this family, considering all three brothers took up the sport that their dad made a career out of, but Carson Briere said that there was definitely added pressure when he was younger just because of the name across his back every time he hit the ice. However, once he got older, not worrying about it became the key to focusing on the sport itself. 

Carson Briere didn’t hold back from speaking about some of his past struggles he had on certain teams, being cut from a few and feeling like he did not deserve to play on them. However, he showed a great deal of maturity with what he said next, acknowledging that he was aware of such issues and how he could have worked harder. He took the time to slim down and get in better shape, changing both his mentality and outlook on the game and becoming much more confident.

Regardless of the highs and lows of his hockey past, having someone who had gone through similar situations there to support him along the way was always beneficial for him.

“I’m definitely lucky to have him as a dad and guide me through my hockey career," Briere said. "It's definitely made it a lot easier for me.” 


(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

So what’s next for Carson Briere? 

“I’m just trying to get better, I’m taking it one day at a time," he said. "I don’t think there’s any pressure — if I don’t make it, I don’t make it. If I do, I do. I’m just trying have some fun and get better at hockey and have it translate from college and we’ll see from there.” 

Briere is committed to Arizona State University, a Division I school where he will be able to advance his career even further.

Arizona State was always an enticing choice, considering he's from Scottsdale, Arizona — just one town over from where the school is located. While he never visited the campus in person, Briere was able to talk to his future Sun Devils coach Greg Powers a few times and the two had some great discussions. Since being from the area, Briere knew the kind of weather and atmosphere in Arizona, but his dad still sent him photos and videos of the campus just in case.

Briere was assigned No. 90 for development camp, but when asked about sporting or even requesting his dad’s old Flyers No. 48, he said: “Maybe in college — we’ll see.”

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Nolan Patrick still believes he will play this season but time on return remains unclear

Nolan Patrick still believes he will play this season but time on return remains unclear

The trade deadline is quickly approaching for the NHL and around this time, it’s important to have a general understanding of what the roster would look like heading into the final stretch of the season. When the Flyers are in the tightest division in the league, that need is amplified. While things for the most part seem stable, the clear level of uncertainty with Nolan Patrick still resides and remains unknown.

Not much has changed since the news of Patrick’s migraine disorder in late September — but the 21-year-old remains hopeful moving forward.

What’s different now, is the fact Patrick is back on the ice with his teammates and it appears to be happening consistently. Even though he is not cleared for contact just yet, the simple element of him skating with the team has had quite an effect on the center.

“For the mental side of things, it’s way nicer to be around your teammates,” Patrick told reporters following Monday’s practice. “Obviously, it’s been a lot of fun to come back. It’s fun for me to just be around the guys.”

Patrick has also had discussions with other players who have dealt with similar things, which has also seemed to help him.

“It’s tough being alone,” Patrick said. “Being by yourself throughout the process and not being around the team.”

This is something that clearly differs from a physical body injury — such as a broken bone, or a muscle strain. With those injuries comes an indication of when a player could possibly return. With Patrick’s case, it’s an ongoing process. And though it seems like progress is being made, there’s still no light and the end of the tunnel.

“It hasn’t been a fast process,” said Patrick. “It’s not like one day I just wake up and it’s a crazy difference, this whole process. I don’t have a timetable, and when I do, you guys will know.”

There’s clear frustration from Patrick, who just wants to be able to help his team. And even once he receives the go-ahead to be cleared for contact, there are multiple steps that need to be taken before he’s game ready. Patrick, his doctors and the team have made sure to take their time with things — there’s no reason to rush it now when there’s steady progress and the team currently holds a playoff spot.

After he’s cleared for contact, a conditioning stint with the AHL affiliate team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, would be the next step.

“If I were you, I would only get excited about Nolan being around us once he gets sent to Lehigh Valley,” head coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. “Because that means that he’s getting close. Lehigh Valley means that he’s going down there for conditioning, to get some games in.”  

Does Vigneault believe Patrick is close to heading to Allentown for said stint?

“I have no idea.”

Luckily for the Flyers, the combination of youth and veteran players have solidified quite the lineup and were able to fill what in previous years, would have been quite a significant gap, if any top player were out.

While having Patrick back would add even more depth down the middle for the Flyers, they’ve found a way to make it work until that discussion becomes tangible. Take that as a win-win on both ends of things, as this relieves the pressure off of Patrick, so he can focus on what needs to be done in order to get back to game-ready.

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Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

The Flyers didn't bring their A-game to a game they needed it.

There would be no giant killing Saturday as the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-3, at Amalie Arena.

Goals from Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux weren't enough for the Flyers (32-20-7), who are 6-3-2 against the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Penguins and Blues, the league's top five clubs.

Tampa Bay is the only one the Flyers haven't beaten. They'll get a final crack at the Lightning on March 12 in the same building.

The Lightning (39-15-5) have won 10 straight games.

• This really wasn't a bad loss for the Flyers.

They were at the end of a road trip and playing the NHL's hottest team. Tampa Bay is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 19.

The Flyers entered Saturday with a 66.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, and still hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot (see standings).

Alain Vigneault's team just needs to recharge and be ready for a big home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets next week.

• Things got chippy in the second period. Travis Konecny was right in the middle of it all.

Steven Stamkos appeared to trip Giroux before a faceoff. Giroux didn't even look to be that mad about it.

During the final 6:09 of the middle frame, 22 penalty minutes were accrued.

• Brayden Point (10-game point streak) is good at hockey.

• Carter Hart, who was coming off his first road victory since Nov. 10, allowed four goals on 23 shots.

The 21-year-old wasn't the problem.

The first goal was a fluky one by Alex Killorn. On the second, Provorov was sloppy with the puck in the defensive zone and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.

In the middle stanza, the Lightning beat Hart on a 3-on-2 to grab a commanding 3-0 advantage. Tampa Bay improved to 33-4-3 when it scores three or more goals.

Not only are the Lightning really good, but the Flyers also didn't play their typical forechecking, possession-based game until it was too late.

• Outside of the van Riemsdyk's third-period goal, Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong with 30 saves, 15 of which came in the final stanza. 

Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .940 save percentage over his last 19 starts.

• Provorov was far from his best against Tampa Bay but he did score the Flyers' first goal to trim the Lightning's lead to 3-1 in the second period. He also had an assist.

The 23-year-old has grown into a power play quarterback this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with seven man advantage goals after scoring only two over his first three NHL seasons.

• Travis Sanheim played 19:43 minutes Saturday after missing almost the entire third period of Thursday's 6-2 win over the Panthers because of a lower-body issue.

• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey and host the Blue Jackets Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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