There were some interesting subjects of note following Saturday's 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.
Via the club's official Twitter feed:
@NHLFlyers: "#Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that Danny Briere is out indefinitely with a concussion."
Already battling through a tough season, forward Danny Briere became the latest in a long line of Philadelphia Flyers skaters to be diagnosed with a concussion this season. With just four goals and six points in his last 16 games, one of the players being most counted on to produce for the team now has 13 goals and 30 points in 43 contests.
Briere saw 16:57 of ice time against the Devils, recording one shot on goal and finishing the day with a -1 rating. He took several hard hits during the contest, and it is not known which one caused the trauma. There was this one from Anton Volchenkov late in the first period:
He was also noticeably dazed after taking a shot to the upper back / neck area from another Devil in the same area next to the New Jersey net, and had a difficult time getting back up to his skates.
Then there was the couple of shots he took from Patrik Elias as time ran out in the third period.
Chris Pronger (out for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs), James van Riemsdyk (currently out indefinitely), Claude Giroux, and Brayden Schenn have all missed time after being concussed during the year (Sean Couturier also missed four games with a head injury after being struck in the side of the head by a Kimmo Timonenslap shot, but was never officially diagnosed with a concussion).
At any rate, Briere is out indefinitely, and the ranks of the shorthanded Flyers forwards will have to pick up the slack with two other wingers also suffering injuries in the game. Jaromir Jagr (lower body) and Zac Rinaldo (upper body) were other casualties on the afternoon.
Jagr has struggled since sustaining a groin injury during the Winter Classic, and the effectiveness of the top line has been limited ever since. He has tried to play through the strain for nearly three weeks, but left the game after taking just four shifts and a total of 3:12 of ice time.
Bryzgalov Shines in Win, Blasts the Media Shortly Thereafter
Ilya Bryzgalov played his best game in some time by stopping 30 of 31 Devils' shots in the matinee. The 31-year-old netminder has a decent 18-10-3 record for the year, and is now at the edge of nearly-respectable numbers with a 2.94 goals-against average, and .896 save percentage.
His post-game interviews have been curious as of late, and Saturday's provided yet another chapter in the odd year of the Bryz.
"Stop worrying about me," urged the media Bryzgalov after the win. "Always ask how I feel? What should I do? What's going on? Leave me alone. Let me be and let me play hockey."
There is no doubt Bryzgalov has been distracted by the attention of the HBO cameras for the "24/7" series as part of the Winter Classic preparation, and his play may have suffered as a result.
It's common knowledge that hockey in Phoenix didn't always bring the brightest of spotlights, so coming to a city where the sport is held in such high esteem has to be a dramatic change for the goalie. Especially in a year with the Classic in the mix. Complete concentration on his job, and a much more focused approach should go a long way in getting Bryzgalov on the roll the that Peter Laviolette and the club have been awaiting for some time.
It will be interesting to see how he responds Sunday afternoon against the Boston Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center, a team that blasted him for five goals in a 6-0 home shellacking in mid-December.
Maybe Bryzgalov will prove that silence is indeed golden.
More Positives From the Snubbed
Scott Hartnell scored twice on the power play against New Jersey to give him a team-leading 22 goals on the season, which places him in the NHL's top-10. The pair of man advantage strikes give him 11 for the year, just one behind the League-leading total of Pittsburgh's James Neal.
Seems like numbers that would definitely be good enough for an invitation to the All-Star Game being played in Ottawa at month's end.
Saturday's Top Forwards Contribute to the Win
Wayne Simmonds was tremendous throughout the entire game, using his physicality and sheer will to be a dominant force. He scored a goal and assisted on two others in recording the first three point game of his career.
Matt Read scored his 15th goal of the season, which leads all rookies, and has 31 points for the year, which is good enough for fourth among all freshmen skaters. Maybe TSN's Bob McKenzie wasn't too far off the mark when he predicted Read as the Calder Trophy winner just prior to the start of the regular season.