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Report: Flyers likely to delay Briere's return

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TSN.ca Staff
1/21/2009 10:04:16 AM
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Danny Briere may not play for the Philadelphia Flyers tonight but the reason why depends on who you ask.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Briere has played three rehabilitation games with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League and has not shown any signs of suffering any setbacks from his groin injury.

But the Flyers do not have room under the salary cap to put Briere back in the lineup against the Atlanta Thrashers tonight, and with the All-Star Break just one game away, resting him would buy some precious time to make some roster decisions.

So is it caution or cap?

"It's a little bit of both, to be honest," Briere told the Philadelphia Inquirer after practice on Tuesday.

But Flyers' general manager Paul Holmgren begged to differ, saying Briere is not quite ready to return.

"I'm not sure about that," Holmgren told the newspaper, saying it was likely Briere would not suit up tonight. "He doesn't feel 100 percent just yet."

Head coach John Stevens concurred with Holmgren to err on the side of caution.

"It sounds as if he's getting better and better, but we can't afford to have anymore setbacks where he's concerned," Stevens told the Inquirer. "We've already been through it twice."

Briere, who has only appeared in nine games this season, underwent abdominal surgery in October but has been out since early December with the current injury.

Demoting defenceman Lasse Kukkonen and forwards Darroll Powe and/or Claude Giroux to the Phantoms would make some room under the cap, as would sending 18-year-old defenceman Luca Sbisa back to Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League.

Sbisa, who has appeared in 38 games this season, has been a healthy scratch in seven of the last 13 games.

Another option could involve trading defenceman Randy Jones, who missed 30 games due to hip surgery and has one assist in 13 games since returning in December.

Daniel Briere (Photo: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
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