THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PHILADELPHIA — Flyers forward Danny Briere expressed frustration Monday after the NHL suspended him for three games for his crosscheck of the New York Islanders’ Frans Nielsen.
Briere began serving the suspension immediately, sidelining him for this week’s games against Carolina, the New York Rangers and Islanders.
"I’m shocked," he said before Philadelphia host the Hurricanes on Monday night. "Surprised is not strong enough. After all the suspensions that have been handed out the last couple of years and this year, I didn’t think I was going to get a game. Then I thought, ‘OK yes, I am a repeat offender, they’ll probably give me a game because of it.’ I’m shocked that it was more than a game."
Briere, who also received a two-game suspension last season for a late hit on Colorado Avalanche defenceman Scott Hannan, sparked a melee in the final minute of Philadelphia’s 6-1 win over the Islanders. The teams combined for 120 minutes of penalties in the game, 37 coming from a play that Briere said came as a result of the previous faceoff with Nielsen.
A few minutes earlier, Islanders forward Trevor Gillies was hit with a triple minor for roughing for trying to fight Flyers defenceman Braydon Coburn, a fight that was interrupted by Briere.
"I made a mistake, my stick was up. I’m the first one to admit that it shouldn’t have been there," Briere said. "After what happened with Trevor Gillies on Coburn, I said, ‘I got to protect myself,’ and if you see the faceoff before, he gets me in a headlock and punches me behind the head."
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, though unhappy with the suspension, added they are just part of the game.
"I’m not happy to lose a player like Danny for three games, but I felt it would be something like that because of his history," Holmgren said. "It’s part of the process we have to go through and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it right now. It’s too bad for the team."