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Daniel Briere looking for consistency, Cup with hometown Canadiens

The Hockey News
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Author: The Hockey News

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Daniel Briere looking for consistency, Cup with hometown Canadiens

The Hockey News
By:

Having grown up in Quebec cheering for the Montreal Canadiens, Daniel Briere describes signing with the Habs this past summer as a “dream come true.” Now three months into his first season with the team, Briere’s time with Montreal has been anything but dreamy.

Gareth Bush
Having grown up in Quebec cheering for the Montreal Canadiens, Daniel Briere describes signing with the Habs this past summer as a “dream come true.” Now three months into his first season with the team, Briere’s time with Montreal has been anything but dreamy.

“The season has been a bit of a roller coaster,” Briere said. “There’s been some good times and some tougher parts. But I’m still trying to soak it all in and the team is doing fairly well, so that makes it a lot easier.”

The Habs have had a successful first half of the season, sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference with 59 points. But Briere has yet to find his comfort zone since signing a two-year, $8 million contract in July.

He tallied three points in his first eight games, a moderately slow pace for a 36-year-old entering his 15th NHL season and first with his new team.

Then came the collision. On a Saturday night game on Oct. 19 against the Predators, Briere was blindsided by Eric Nystrom with his head taking the brunt of the impact.    

Briere was diagnosed with a concussion. His history of head injuries was a cause for concern at the time of his signing, having missed 10 games last season and six the year prior due to concussions.

After missing nearly a month of action this season, he made a full recovery and recorded seven points in his first 11 games back. After a scary start, things were looking up for the Briere.

“It was pretty exciting,” he said. “I’ve just been trying to have a blast as much as I can.”

Briere’s desire to succeed in Montreal is obvious, even deciding to go by “Daniel” instead of “Danny” like he had been in English-speaking markets his whole career.

But following those 11 games, Briere hit the biggest scoring drought of his NHL career. Adding on another unsuccessful outing in a loss against Toronto last Saturday, Briere has gone pointless in 16 of his past 17 games.

Some pundits have blamed his struggles on the pressure of playing in a market of Montreal’s magnitude, but Briere refutes claim.

“At my age, I’m much better prepared for it so I’m not going to use that as an excuse,” he said. “There’s a lot of little things. New system, new linemates, new teammates and trying to fit in and figure out what exactly your role is on the team. All these little things, but there’s nothing that I can complain about.”

He’s also been a healthy scratch three times this season, a demotion Briere never saw coming when he signed as an unrestricted free agent.

“Competition is good, but when you’re not playing well then your ice time is going to suffer,” he said. “I went through a little lull and ended up paying the price. But it’s about the way that you bounce back.”

When coach Michel Therrien was asked what he thought of Briere’s recent play, he froze for a five second period and started with a sigh.

“We think that Danny is working hard to get out of slumps,” the coach said. “There’s been games where he’s been really good for us. It takes time for players to adjust to a new system and new teammates. We’re ready to be patient with him.”

Despite his struggles to contribute on the score sheet, Briere believes his play has improved as of late.

“I think I’ve bounced back up,” Briere said. “The big part for me is just trying to keep that level up and not dip back down.”

Briere has been involved in trade rumors throughout his slump and while he hopes to bring a Cup to his hometown, his future has never been more uncertain.

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Daniel Briere looking for consistency, Cup with hometown Canadiens