Something we didn't know about Briere is fortunately becoming more common


Only 48 players in NHL history have more playoff goals than Danny Briere, the man that made No. 48 awfully popular in Philadelphia. The former Flyer put up 116 points (53 goals, 63 assists) in 124 career postseason games.

With 37 goals and 35 assists in 68 playoff games for the orange and black, Briere has more postseason points in a Flyers jersey than Tim Kerr, Reggie Leach, Eric Lindros, Rod Brind'Amour, Eric Desjardins and Dave Poulin — all Flyers Hall of Famers.

Briere was at his best in the biggest moments. Philly became enamored with Briere because of his knack for delivering when it mattered most. But the path to those pressure-filled moments — and then being able to succeed in them — was no cakewalk. Briere, a first-round pick of the Coyotes in 1996, was never the biggest or strongest. The 5-foot-9, 174-pound forward had 21 combined goals in 112 games over his first four NHL seasons. Then, in 2001-02, Briere erupted for 32 goals, the first of his four career 30-goal seasons, two of which came with the Flyers when he was in his 30s.

"Here's a little tidbit not many know about me: back in 1998 or '99, I started using a sports psychologist when I was going through my ups and downs of trying to carve a pro hockey career," Briere said in an interview with Michael Barkann as part of NBC Sports' HeadStrong initiative. "There was lots of pressure being a first-round pick and I didn't know who to look for. And at the time, it was very taboo if you worked with a sports psychologist; you had real issues and it was seen in a bad light. Nowadays, I'm not afraid to admit it. I worked with a sports psychologist for a lot of years and always felt it was a huge asset."


One of the Flyers' brightest young players Carter Hart has worked with sports psychologist John Stevenson since the goaltender was a teenager.

Briere is grateful he worked with one back in his early NHL days. Mental health can be just as important as physical health in sports and all aspects of life.

"I jumped on the ice and looked at the guy next to me and he might be bigger and stronger than me, but I felt I had the mental edge," Briere said. "Nowadays, you hear more players using that to their advantage and I think it's a huge asset to the players."

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