By Mike Harrington
PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers didn't have a morning skate today so I had to a chance to catch up with Daniel Briere in the 5 o'clock hour in advance of tonight's 7:30 game in the Wells Fargo Center (reminder: It's on NBC Sports Network, not MSG).
Briere, of course, co-captained the 2006 and 2007 Sabres teams that got to the Eastern Conference final and were two of the most memorable clubs to take the ice under Lindy Ruff. This will be the first time he's faced the Sabres without Ruff, who was fired on Feb. 20.
"I was shocked. I never expected that," Briere said of Ruff's dismissal. "It's the one thing that was a given in Buffalo: Darcy [Regier] and Lindy as general manager and coach. I couldn't picture it any other way."
Briere will get the first view of it tonight with Ron Rolston behind the Buffalo bench.
"They've had some tought times before but Lindy had always stayed there," Briere said. "I haven't played them since then and it's tough to imagine them without Lindy. I think it's going to be weird. We'll see. In my mind, I still can't picture it without him behind the bench. But time moves. People more and it's just reality."
"He was very animated. He was the face of the Sabres for the longest time. All the battles that we went through, it sticks in my mind."
For more from Briere on Ruff, his wrist injury while playing in Europe and the Flyers' struggles to date, be sure to see my story in Monday's editions of The News.
Click below to hear audio of Briere's comments on Ruff.