VOORHEES, N.J. Wearing bright yellow socks and a matching jersey he called it golden Danny Briere took the ice Tuesday morning for the first time since sustaining a hairline fracture in his left wrist in late December.
He skated by himself with two coaches for about 25 minutes before joining the rest of the Flyers for the first half of Day 3 of training camp.
The results, he said, were encouraging.
I didnt have any problems with stickhandling, didnt have problems with deflecting pucks, even receiving passes, which I was surprised with, Briere said. The vibration off of it, that didnt bother me. Just passing the puck and shooting was a little more difficult. But I think from what team trainer Jimmy McCrossin was able to tell me, were going to see improvement every day. Im excited.
Briere was unable to skate previously because he never had a cast on his wrist, and didnt want to risk injuring it further if he were to fall. He was finally able to meet with team doctors on Monday, and was told the results of an MRI were better than expected (see story).
The doctor said that it didnt look like there was much ligament or muscle damage, which is sometimes a lot worse, he said. So that seems to be very good. It just needs time to heal completely.
As for how long that will take, Briere isnt certain. He doesnt think hell be playing in either of this weekends games, which considering the opponents, is a bit of a disappointment.
Two interesting games -- Pittsburgh to start after what happened in the playoffs last year, and Buffalo (his former team) for me personally is always a fun game, he said. Its a little disappointing, but at the same time theres going to be a lot of games and theyre going to be coming pretty quick after that anyway.
Briere spent the lockout playing overseas in Germany with Eisbaren Berlin, where he was the teams leading scorer and among the top scorers in the entire league. He elected to play overseas, he said, to make sure he was sharp if and when the NHL lockout ended.
What he was hoping to avoid by playing regularly was a season like he had in 2011-12. Briere went a stretch of 23 games from January to March without scoring a goal.
Last year was a tough regular season. Im not going to deny that, he said. And that was the reason I wanted to play during this lockout, I wanted to come back and be ready to go in case it started. I didnt want to come from not playing, I wanted to come from the upswing. Obviously with this injury its a little bit of a setback. I really believe having had the chance to play the last three months is still going to help me whenever I can get back to playing.
My goal was to have a better regular season and make the playoffs, and well see what happens after that. But my goal was definitely to have a more consistent regular season.
Though he wont be available to play for at least a while longer, coach peter Laviolette was pleased to see the 35-year-old veteran back with his teammates. Next up for Briere: regaining strength in his wrist and getting back to battling along the boards and in front of the net.
Its good to get Danny back out there, coach Peter Laviolette said. For him, Im sure its hard when youre out of the lineup and you see your team coming back and taking part in camp early on. To get back out there that early, Im sure hes excited about it, and so are we.
E-mail Sarah Baicker at firstname.lastname@example.org