As the Philadelphia Flyers continue their playoff run, much of the talk centers on certain areas. First, Claude Giroux is having the type of postseason that could earn him the Conn Smythe trophy. Second, the band of rookies is earning some much-deserved praise. With those players generating a lot of attention, it is pretty easy to forget about key veterans like Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell. As a fan, I feel it is time to give these guys a lot of credit. Giroux is the best player on the team and the rookies will make the difference between success and failure. However, the impact of Briere and Hartnell can't be understated.
Briere emerged as the top player on the ice in Game 1 against the New Jersey Devils. He had two goals, including the game winner in overtime. All of a sudden, Briere has as many playoff goals as Giroux with seven. This was the third time in the 2012 playoffs that he has had a game with two goals. He looks every bit as good as he did during the 2011 playoffs. Briere now has more than 100 playoff points in his career. This guy shows up when it matters most. What makes this year different is that he was almost forgotten in the regular season. Injuries sidelined him for the majority of the second half of the season and his numbers dropped. None of that matters now as he is in full playoff form.
Hartnell doesn't have the same offensive numbers that Briere has but his impact is just as real. He has become the ultimate tough guy on this team. There isn't a scrum that Hartnell will avoid. His gritty play around the net has generated a ton of chances for his teammates. Hartnell is a perfect fit on Giroux's line and will score when he has the chance. However, a lack of goals will never drain his impact on a game.
The Flyers are succeeding for a lot of reasons. Every player has played a key role for the team. It is easy to forget just impressive these two players have been. Both have come up huge for the Flyers so far in the playoffs and I expect that to continue. Their impressive play is just another reason to love the current team.
* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Flyers fan.
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- Danny Briere
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