When he was playing for the Buffalo Sabers in the early 2000s, Daniel Brier began to take an interest in the work of their general manager, Darcy Rieger. The way his team jumped from the bottom of the standings to two consecutive conference finals amazed him. Then he studied the methods of Paul Holmgren in Philadelphia. Then Mark Bergevin in Montreal, and Joe Sakic in Colorado.
Besides saying, for 20 years Brière has been “looking at how teams are built”. Today it is his turn to do so, as the Philadelphia Flyers have entrusted him with the role of interim general manager of the organization.
“There’s no doubt I can do the job,” Kipker said Sunday morning during a (very) early morning virtual news conference, his first media appearance since accepting his promotion last Friday. It was former Deputy General Manager Chuck Fletcher, who was shown the door.
I saw myself [être DG] When I was playing, I always believed that I could find myself in this situation.
His rise, since retiring as a player in 2015, gives weight to his conviction. After ending his career with the Canadiens and the Avalanche, he returns to Philadelphia, the city he and his family call “home”. Flyers president at the time, Paul Holmgren, took him under his wing, introducing him to the “business side” of his sport and giving him various responsibilities in the organization. He started his undergraduate studies in management. For five years, he skirted the ECHL, taking the reins of the Maine Mariners, before finding himself among the last candidates for the Montreal Canadiens general manager position in January 2022.
He believes this has accelerated his rise to his dream job. In fact, shortly after the Habs preferred Kent Hughes to him, the Flyers made Briere Chuck Fletcher right hand. However, he did not expect to replace him after only one year.
The call from the franchisees “surprised him a bit,” he admits: “You never go to work thinking your boss is going to be fired.”
The next 48 hours were “a little crazy”; His phone vibrates “every three seconds”.
Still in “survival mode”, he talks about the “honor” he has, of the “pride” he feels being a member of the Airmen.
Like his predecessor, he currently holds the titles of General Manager and Chief of Hockey Operations, two positions that will be split at the end of the selection process that will begin in the coming weeks. Brière considers himself above all else a CEO, although he says he is “open” to what his bosses have to offer him.
The acting label doesn’t scare him at all. It is clear that he sees himself in this chair for a long time. “I will do everything I can to help get the team back on track,” he promises.
There will be no shortage of work. In the short term, there is a season to finish – fourth season without the playoffs in five years, seventh season in 11 years.
In the medium and long term, there are many projects. The aspirants bank, while interesting, is not the richest in the circuit. Modern arrangement ofAthlete Placement of the Flyers youth team at the age of 14H Ranked out of 32 teams. It is not certain that a future big star is currently hiding in the club’s affiliates.
Brière also inherits heavy and expensive contracts that will not be easy to liquidate. The health of key players like Sean Couturier and Ryan Ellis is fragile. The goalkeeping position has been precarious for nearly 40 years.
Daniel Breyer does not hesitate to utter the word “reconstruction”, which many managers dread. Before the Flyers become a Stanley Cup winning team again, “it will take several years,” he believes.
“It is important not to rush into anything. There is no quick fix [quick fix]. This does not mean that we are going to sell a loser and dump everyone else. Our team has rejuvenated, and it really shows. We are in the right direction. »
Re-parity is high on the priority list for the next few years. We consider it “key” to reviving the club. “Right now, I don’t think we’re in a position to get impact free agents,” the GM admits. Unfortunately and fortunately, we will have a very high choice this year. We already have two first-round picks next year. »
A full staff ‘assessment’ will be carried out. The ones on the ice, of course, but also the ones in the offices. He promised to conduct the exercise openly and rigorously, but there would be no purge either. “I have never been a player who works alone, I have always believed that the team comes first, and I will maintain the same approach. I love working with people.”
Listening to him, we understand that head coach John Tortorella doesn’t have to worry about his job security. Daniel Briere was also part of the panel that appointed him last June, and he has nothing but praise for the fiery figure, whose wardrobe is notoriously absent from white gloves.
“What impresses me most about him is how much he wants to rebuild our culture,” says Brier. Over the past two years we have become an easy team to play against. It was sometimes hard to watch. [Avec Tortorella]We can already see the difference. We are not the most talented group, but it is difficult to play against us. It’s exciting. »
Even if it’s not time for festivities in the City of Brotherly Love, Daniel Brier arrives with the smile and determination of someone who finally gets to where he wants to be, even if the road to success is long.
On the ice, he always showed his doubters wrong. And he’s never been better than in the most important matches. As an official, he will not allow himself to be imposed on him any more.
Daniel Brier in a nutshell
- Born October 6, 1977 in Gatineau
- Drafted in the first round (24H overall) in 1996 by the Phoenix Coyotes
- Played 973 season games with the Coyotes, Buffalo Sabers, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, and Colorado Avalanche. He collected 696 points in the second half
- 116 points added in 124 playoff games. He has reached the Conference Final five times, and the Grand Final once.
- He announced his retirement as a player in 2015.
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