Colorado Avalanche Player Profile: Daniel Briere


For the inaugural edition of Monday Player Profile, let’s look at a players who wasn’t a Colorado Avalanche for long, veteran forward Daniel Briere. Danny came over last summer in a trade for PA Parenteau. Unfortunately, like Parenteau himself, Danny didn’t really make it in head coach Patrick Roy‘s system. However, Briere provided a veteran influence when necessary, and a shot of offense as well.

Briere in the Beginning

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The Phoenix Coyotes drafted Danny first round in 1996 — that’s the year the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup for the first time, of course. He played one more year at major junior for the Drummondville Voltigeurs. He was awarded the Frank J Selke Memorial Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player that year — the previous year he’d won the QMJHL Humanitarian of the Year Award. You see a trend there.

It took Briere a little while to break fully into the NHL. He played 64 games for the Coyotes in the 1998-99 season, earning eight goals and 14 assists.
Part of Danny’s legend is, of course, that he’s a diminutive man. By everyday standards, he’s a regular-sized gu at 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds. That’s small by NHL standards then — most players tend to hover around the 6-foot, 200-pound mark.

One way Briere combated that early on in his career is that he started strength training in the off-season with Canada’s World’s Strongest Man competitor, Hugo Girard.

Briere’s Prime Years

The off-season regimen seemed to work because Danny had his best years after he started training with Girard. He played very well for the Coyotes from 2001 to 2003, when he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres.

Briere did very well with the Sabres the three (and some) years he was there. Not only did he score 92 goals and earn 138 assists, but he became the captain of the team in February 2004.

During that time, he became well-known for a his top-shelf goal scoring. In fact, he got the name “Cookie Monster” because radio announcer Rick Jeanneret observed that he was good at scoring goal top shelf, “where Momma hides the cookies.”

Briere ended up signing with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2007. He continued to post good numbers with the Flyers — he stayed there for six seasons.

Briere with the Avalanche

Daniel Briere spent a year with the Montreal Canadiens before the Parenteau trade. Though he did pretty well early on — his 300th goal was the Colorado Avalanche’s first game-winner — he never completely found his place with the Avs.

Not on-ice anyway. He was instantly popular with the media, the fans and his teammates. In fact, just a month into the season, and he was already paired up with winger Jamie McGinn for Halloween:

Media and fans really came to like him because of his humor and his humility. He had to have both as coach Roy decided to scratch him for long stretches. However, even coach Roy appreciated his demeanor, remarking that he knew Briere was setting a good example for the younger guys.

Danny suffered a foot injury right around the time the Colorado Avalanche were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. By then it was an open secret that he was just running out the clock on his contract with the Avs. Now that the games no longer mattered except for heart and pride — both of which are evident in Danny — coach Roy stated that he planned to play Briere again. “It’s up to Danny.”

Luckily Briere got to play in the last two games of the season, the two wins against the Winnipeg Jets and the Chicago Blackhawks. He didn’t earn any points, but it was a feel-good moment to see Danny play one more time. He earned the third star honors in the final game.

It’s thought that Daniel Briere might retire. He’s 37 years old, and that’s often when professional hockey players start considering that option. One factor that Danny has talked about is that he misses his children, who live with his ex-wife in Philadelphia. He’d like to be close to home.

Even though Briere is not going to be an Avalanche any longer, we appreciated him while we had him. He was a guy who played with real heart and real class. Best of luck to Danny in his future endeavors.

Next: Avs Fans Highlights of the Year

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