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The new Philadelphia Flu?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I know this comes as a surprise to everyone, but Danny Briere has once again suffered a groin injury and will sit out for at least a month. The upside here is twofold. First of all, Briere will finally have a chance to properly heal. I don’t care how much they recite the “it’s a completely different injury” story; the various parts of the body are interconnected and affect each other constantly. So Briere will rest up and return in January, refreshed and ready to take on the world down the stretch.

Secondly, Briere’s injury leaves room for other players to step up their own games:

Joffrey Lupul could do a little more to convince the world that he deserves that $4.25 million-a-year contract he signed this past summer. True, he does have 8 goals and 5 assists. In his case, thought, it’s less about the production than it is the effort. Watching his games, you can sense that he’s holding something back—that inside there’s a roiling talent waiting to burst forward from its shell.

Randy Jones’s salary may be cleared with Briere’s off the cap due to LTIR, but Jones himself will require serious performances to gain entry to the Flyers’ lineup. Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, Ossi Vaananen and Braydon Coburn provide a solid top-four group in the NHL. The 5-6 pairing of Andrew Alberts and Luca Sbisa are also cranking out consistent work lately. If Jones wants a job in the Orange and Black, he needs to prove that the Flyers can’t live without him. Otherwise, he’ll find himself out of the loop.

The third guy  on my list: Darrell Powe. The call-up center from the Philadelphia Phantoms did decent work in his few shifts with the Flyers prior to suffering a concussion in Atlanta. Powe may not achieve a full-time gig in an orange jersey, especially given the Flyers’ current depth at forward. However, a strong showing could interest another team and set up a potential trade. And you never know how long Briere will actually be sidelined . . .

It’s time for the young guys to accept the challenges provided by Briere’s absence. The next two weeks should reveal exactly what we have on Broad Street.

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