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Sweet Flyers day goes sour: Briere, Grossmann lost to injury

Apr 2, 2012, 1:50 PM EDT

Los Angeles Kings v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

Monday began so brightly for the Philadelphia Flyers.

First, Wayne Simmonds was named the NHL’s first star of the week after scoring five goals in his last four games.

Then, Ilya Bryzgalov was named March’s first star after posting four shutouts and setting a franchise goalless streak record.

But it all came crashing down shortly thereafter, when the Flyers announced injuries to forward Daniel Briere and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann.

Briere will be out indefinitely with an upper back contusion, stemming from this hit by Pittsburgh’s Joe Vitale in the waning moments of Sunday’s 6-4 win:

Briere left the ice immediately and went directly to the locker room, though GM Paul Holmgren said afterward Briere was “fine”.

(For what it’s worth, Holmgren also said Bryzgalov was “fine” after he limped off the ice last Monday…it was later revealed Bryz had a chip fracture in his foot.)

As for Grossmann, he left Sunday’s game after taking a knee-on-knee hit from — who else? — Joe Vitale! Grossmann ended up playing just 3:58 (eight shifts) in the first period before the Flyers shut him down for the afternoon.

The Flyers play their final three regular-season games this week — Tuesday against the Rangers, Thursday against the Sabres and a rematch with the Penguins on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

  1. icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 2, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Yea, Vitale better keep his head up on Saturday haha. That’s rough stuff. Hopefully both Danny B and Grossmann are healthy come 4.11.12.

  2. govtminion - Apr 2, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    I guess Matt Cooke has been replaced as ‘most hated Penguin’ these days?

  3. mickeyb21 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    What’s funny is that Vitale’s hits were clean. Maybe Vitale and Schenn should fight because each side had issues with the other on Sunday.

    This should be a hard hitting, exciting playoff series, just don’t want it to turn into head hunting on either side.

    • The Baseball Gods - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      The knee on knee hit on Grossmann was not clean at all.

      • mickeyb21 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        I saw it as more unfortunate than a dirty hit. Don’t think it was intentional at all. Be happy that Grossmann is only out 7-10 days. I’ve seen other unfortunate knee on knees and the player is out for 6 weeks

    • dwil12 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      lay of the pipe mickey. briere hit was clean but completely unnecessary and the grossmann hit was anything but clean

      • crosberries - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:52 PM

        Yeah they should start suspending players now deeming if hits are neccesary or not. Moron

      • dwil12 - Apr 2, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        funny i dont see the word suspension anywhere in my post but good try

  4. njdevils44 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    It was a clean hit briere should of had his head up should be fun on Saturday.

    • The Baseball Gods - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      It was a clean hit, but when you are down 3 goals with just about a minute to go in the game you should not be trying to lay a big hit on anybody. It was just a case of the Penguins being sore losers. Flyers are definitely not going to lay back on Crosby now, so he better be playing with about 6 eyes in the playoffs.

      • har21441 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        you’re mixed up a bit here. the time you should not be trying to hit anybody is after the whistle. Like a cross check from behind. (by the way, is that your idea of the flyers laying back on Crosby?) The right time to hit anyone is between the whistles – not even accounting for a rivalry game that will be repeated again in a few days, then in a first round playoff series.

      • atb4 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        Isn’t that exactly what every team does late in games, especially in the playoffs? “Sending a message” or whatever you want to call it?

        Listen, I would’ve expected the same reaction by the Penguins yesterday if the shoe was on the other foot, but you can’t blame Vitale or the Penguins for what took place. He didn’t hunt Briere down or go out of his way to lay a cheapshot on him. He caught him coming across the middle and laid a clean hit. Every player in the league would’ve done the same thing. I honestly don’t understand what all the fuss is about. The two teams hate each other and this just adds to it. It’s great entertainment so we should just enjoy it. Nobody wants to see cheapshots laid on either side.

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        I completely disagree with the notion that you don’t lay a big hit if the game is out of reach for several reasons:
        1) Setting a tone for going forward – this is a team that they will be seeing a lot over the next few weeks. If you can get in a guys head you do it (I will say that its unfortunate to hear that he’s injured).
        2) Guys like Vitale make teams and stay in the big leagues by making those kind of plays. It may seem like hyperbole, but its important for grinders to make those plays.
        3) You shouldn’t just turn off when a game is seemingly out of hand – these guys are professionals who are getting paid. You play hard all game every game

      • tcclark - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:39 PM

        They shouldn’t turn off? Weren’t Penguins fans arguing that the only reason they sent the fourth line out was because they WERE turning off? So much changes in a day.

  5. atb4 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Anyone have a link to the hit on Grossmann? I haven’t seen it. The Briere hit was just a good hit and nothing else.

    • The Baseball Gods - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      I don’t believe that putting your fourth line guys out in the waning minutes of a 3 goal deficit after they hadn’t played for about 12 minutes of game time can be construed as “a good hit and nothing else”. The Penguins being the home team had last change, so they intentionally put their “big hitters” into the game to take a run at one of the smallest players in the league, Danny Briere. It was a clean hit, but it was also a hit that didn’t need to take place given the circumstances of the game.

      • mickeyb21 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        “Big hitter” Joe Vitale is about 5′-10″ as are Adams and Asham. They did not play the previous 12 minutes for Asham and 8 minutes for Adams and Vitale because the Penguins were trying to score. When the Flyers got the emptynetter, the pens put players on the ice that could finish off the game. Rest the star players and put fresh bodies on the ice. Vitale hit Briere because it was such a great opportunity. Guy cutting across the middle, head lowered. Any 3rd or 4th liner would have hit him like that. I still don’t get why Briere was on the ice to begin with. Shouldn’t the Flyers put their 4th liners on the ice in an intense rival game, not a goal scoring 2nd line.

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        … so what? They should have put Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Neal, or someone else to be exposed to what had been an incredibly violent game this far? Again I didn’t want to see Briere get hurt, but a) he shouldn’t have skated across the middle with his head down, and b) maybe he shouldn’t have been on the ice if the game was out of reach as you say.

      • The Baseball Gods - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:26 PM

        You guys act like a hockey team has unlimited amounts of scrub players to throw on the ice at the end of the game. A typical shift lasts about 30-45 seconds, so obviously you can’t just play one line to end the game. Also, with the Penguins getting last change the Flyers were not able to put their 4th line out against the Pens fourth line. The Penguins on the other hand decided to put their 4th line out against the Flyers 2nd line.

      • atb4 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:26 PM

        Those guys aren’t the “big hitters” though. They’re grinders. Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke are probably the biggest hitters on the team, forward-wise. If Malkin’s line is on the ice and Kunitz lays the hit, then what?

        How can you gauge intent of Bylsma or any players? Vitale didn’t “take a run” at anybody. He made a smart play and would do it no matter what the circumstances.

      • har21441 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        two points:


        Joe Vitale – 5′ 11″, 205
        Danny Briere – 5′ 10″ 180

        Not really David vs Goliath there.


        With a team that has the rep that philly has for taking shots after the whistle – including a blatant cheap shot against crosby earlier – why should the pens send out any of their top three lines in that situation? Why put them at risk?

        And home town bias here – Danny Briere crumpled like a piece of paper on a clean hit. non-story; happens all of the time.

      • The Baseball Gods - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        Just to make it clear, my issue is more with the coach than the player in this situation. I don’t blame Vitale for doing what he always does, but I do blame the coach for putting him out on the ice to do what he ended up doing.

      • mickeyb21 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        Again, who do you put on the ice in that situation? Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Staal? There are the other three lines. You put the next line, who hardly qualify as goons.

      • The Baseball Gods - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        They went a long time without having those players on the ice, so they couldn’t go the last minute without them going on the ice? Since when are Crosby, Malkin, Neal, and Staal the only players on the Penguins? I know they are the only players who really do anything productive, but there are two other lines that could play as well. Also, in case you didn’t notice, the Penguins put all four of those guys on the ice after this whole “incident” happened.

      • atb4 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        Again, how do you gauge Bylsma’s intent? I’m not saying he didn’t intend on one of his players laying a hit, but who would you want out in that situation? I’m betting his philosophy was more along of the lines of getting those guys another shift in and NOT putting his skilled players out in a game that was out of reach and physical from the beginning.

      • atb4 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM

        As far the star players being out there after the incident, they were on the powerplay and Malkin is trying for 50 goals and a scoring title. Simple stat-padding.

        Also, these “goons” you talk about were either penalized or thrown out of the game.

      • phillyboy20 - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        As a flyers fan I don’t have a problem with the hit (danny needs to keep his head up) or the decision to place the fourth line out there at that time, they were protecting Crosby after the cross check. That being said the cross-check by Schenn wasn’t that hard and it was more to let Crosby know that he didn’t appreciate the two slashes (both non calls) earlier in the game. And as far the flyers being the most dirty team after the whistle this isn’t 1975 anymore. Crosby and Malkin are notorious for slashes behind the play; like yesterday when Malkin slashed Giroux behind the play then pushed him down and shoved his glove in his face. Again not hating, Bobby Clarke was no angle back in the day, if you can get away with it fine just don’t be surprised and complain when players want to take a run at you later in the game.

      • phillyboy20 - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        and by angle I mean angel*

    • mickeyb21 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      I guess they could have put Cooke, Kennedy, or Dupuis out there, but they would have hit the same way. They also fight just as much as Vitale and Adams (which isn’t very often). I am also assuming the top PP went out there at the end of the game because half the Flyers were tossed and the Pens had final change so they did not have to worry about who their top line played against. They also had a good 5 or so minutes to rest up. You forgot that most of them were on the ice when the emptynetter was scored.

  6. ll8078 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    the hit was legal, but headhunting a player who wasn’t at all involved in the scrums in the last 90 seconds of a 3 goal game is beyond bad hockey.

    Fully expecting the Flyers to call up Shelly for Saturday, then Crosby to have a “day-to-day” injury, so he’s not a target.

    • ll8078 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      just sour that the Flyers are 5-0 in that new arena.

      • har21441 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        just sour that the flyers have not won a championship since bell bottoms were in style

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        You can’t call it headhunting when the guy had the puck. That’s puck hunting if anything. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do – hit the guy with the puck.

        Unless Crosby is legitimately hurt he’ll play – if the Flyers make a run at him I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m expecting/hoping that Cooke and or Asham is always on the ice with him just as a deterrent.

        As far as being sour about you being 5-0 in CSC… yeah I don’t know. Maybe we tank the rest of the way to intentionally get the 5 seed (kidding of course).

  7. hoarce7 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    The Penguins are an exact replica of a ‘bush league’ NHL team. Watching yesterday’s game, with the Flyers well in control leading 6-3 at the time, I knew Blysma would send out his goon Vitale for no other reason than to start the b.s. They are a pathetic excuse for a team that considers itself a class organization. On the contrary the Penguins are truly a classless club but as the saying goes, ‘what goes around, comes around’ and I truly hope, whether it’s one of the Flyers or another player from another team, that one of Pittsburgh’s two so-called better players pays the price for the bush league tactic their coach Blysma pulled yesterday afternoon when his team was getting pasted on the scoreboard in their own barn. Hardly can be labelled a quality coach when he puts his best players at risk in an upcoming game and that’s exactly what this guy did yesterday with 1:03 remaining in the game and his club trailing by three goals. Come to think of it, I believe Blysma was nothing more than a bush league fringe type player at best who sat & collected splinters when he played.

    • chizmo - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      One thing I keep seeing and don’t get is people calling for Crosby or Malkin to be intentionally injured in retaliation for the hit on Briere.

      Briere is fourth best scorer on team. Please start calling for Chris Kunitz or Pascal Dupuis’ heads instead. At least make it a fair trade Flyers fans!

    • sportscritic101 - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:49 AM

      so Dan Bylsma is classless, ruthless, and gutless?

      but wasn’t he the 2011 Jack Adams award winner?

      oh that’s right. he was! (and the most recent of the two coaches to win a cup)

      as for the penguins being a so called “bush league” hockey team

      (I suspect you are a Philadelphia fan, and an uneducated one at that.)

      they are in-front of your team in the standings as of now, points don’t lie.

      so before you get on here and rant off like an idiot due to your boy briere skating around in the 3rd period with his head down in a game that’s already been won…. know your facts before you make yourself sound retarded.

  8. ll8078 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    “I think the NHL took a stand against line brawls and going out trying to hurt someone. We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players,” Lemieux said. “We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action. If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to rethink whether I want to be a part of it.” – Penguins owner Mario, aka the biggest hypocrite in the league.

    • atb4 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Nobody tried to hurt anybody, and the Flyers went after Vitale, which started the fight.

    • mickeyb21 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      Nothing in this statement relates the what occurred Sunday afternoon. There were no intentional plays to go out and intentially hurt anybody. That is what that statement refers to.

    • har21441 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Lemiuex never cried about a legal hit

    • chizmo - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      The Flyers, coach included, began the line brawl after a perfectly clean hit. How does what Lemieux said last year about the Isles debacle have any bearing in this case? The little scuffle that occurred Saturday was nowhere near the magnitude that the Pens-Isles started last year…

    • sportscritic101 - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:53 AM

      mario looks down upon all events like this,especially in his newly built arena. he hates scrums that come like this from the top to the bottom of the organization, including the fans. Do not speak poorly of whom you do not know of.

  9. napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    @ Hoarce and everyone else who has been calling Vitale a thug, or a goon…

    He’s not a thug or a goon, not even that big really. Definitely a grinder, but not really a physical presence. Briere should have had his head up. Vitale layed a clean hit, as I would expect a Flyer to do in that same situation. If I were a Flyers fan I would certainly be upset that he got injured but you can’t say Vitale shouldn’t have hit him.

  10. mercyflush - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    What I think is hilarious is that pretty much no one (especially Pens fans) is talking about the cheap shot that Crosby took on Schenn about 4 seconds before he cross checked Crosby to the ground.

    Schenn is not a cheap shot guy. He’s a 20 year old rookie who’s known as a scorer. He wouldnt just hit Crosby like that for no reason.

    Watch the tape. Crosby started all of this, then was sure to cut in front of Schenn in front of the Flyers’ bench.

    (as for the hit on Brier, I agree it was legal. I dont even care that the Pens had that line out there. Lavy was pissed because one of his guys got hurt in garbage time).

    • chizmo - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      Do we really need to go back and look for every cheap shot anyone made in the game and point it out? I’m sure there were a bunch of “cheap shots” committed by both teams. It was a Pens – Flyers game after all…

      I get where you’re coming from, but Crosby did not start anything. Crosby took a shot at Schenn, then chirped Schenn when he retaliated. That happens multiple times every game. None of these guys are angels.

      Please Pens fans, lay off the cheap shot on Crosby stuff!

    • sportscritic101 - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:55 AM

      at least crosby had the balls to do it when schenn was aware of it.

  11. canuckinamerica - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    To baseballsgods. Suspect your online ID shows your lack of “expertise” in hockey.

  12. hky15 - Apr 2, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Grossmann is hurt? What else is new? Look at times he was hurt with Stars, even team Sweden at World Championship last year…

  13. har21441 - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Schenn’s cheap shot is less tolerable because it was from behind well after the whistle. There was a lot of time left for Schenn to get his retaliation. Wait for another shift and do your thing. At best, its a cowardly move on Schenn’s part to hit him when he did. At worst, he’s knocking down a recently concussed person from behind. And not just because it’s Crosby – have some respect out there.

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