Danny Briere, the team’s fast-skating, elite center, left the game with a groin injury. The same injury that’s caused him to miss 51 games this season.
To fans, that’s an understatement. Briere has been plagued with lower-abdominal and groin injuries for most of the season. He had just returned to the Flyers’ lineup March 1.
In a move to make room in the team’s salary cap, popular winger Scottie Upshall was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday, just before the NHL’s trade deadline. Clearing that space was necessary because of Briere’s return and Holmgren’s desire to keep right-winger Claude Giroux in the lineup.
The trade has been much debated in fan circles, with most seeming to disapprove. At one breakage in play Thursday, fans at the Wachovia Center erupted in cheers when game highlights of a goal Upshall scored for his new team were played on the big screen.
Now that Briere is out, fans can't help but cringe at Wednesday's move and Thursday's 5-1 loss. Similarly, the team's management isn't optimistic.
“(Briere’s) having a tough time right now as much mentally as physically,” Holmgren said. He added that the gravity of the 31-year-old’s injury will be evaluated Friday.