Let's get a couple of things straight: Daniel Briere got 95 points last year, but he is no 90-point scorer. He'll have to do that a few more times to get picked up as a 90-point man in my pool (eh, Eric Staal, 100-point man). Also, Daniel Briere went to Philadelphia for the money. Bottom line. Full stop.
Jean Beliveau in quality, class and indeed offensive ability he is not. So let's stop acting like he could have been...
An article today in La Presse invented a conversation that they claim has now been supported by two people close to Briere. I believe what they are saying, I do. But let's face it, would Daniel Briere really prefer to go to the last place team (who are improving, yes, because there's no place to go but up) if the money wasn't more? Any player knows that lines aren't set for the season. He could have come to the Habs (and if he is indeed a 90-point man) taken the first-line minutes if he wanted to. Carbonneau wouldn't have given him 2 bums on his wings if he were producing.
Daniel Briere went to Philadelphia because he wanted more money (after taxes). He may have gone there to avoid the inane media stories that Saku Koivu has to endure daily. But I very much doubt he went to Philadelphia to play with Mike Knuble on the "first line" instead of Kovalev and Latendresse on the "second line" here. If he did, he is a fool and knows nothing about our coach who couldn't promise to keep two linemates together for more than 2 periods.
On another tack, let's assume Briere did ask to play with Ryder and Higgins. Why should Bob Gainey feel coerced by someone he is going out of his way to please with 42 million dollars, no less. Gainey has a known quantity in Saku Koivu, a perennial PPG threat, with an uncanny ability to step it up in the big games. Briere is not so much Koivu's superior (though his most recent campaign seems to exagerrate the gulf in quality), and doesn't tend to look better in May, but somewhat worse, in fact.
Saku Koivu is the core of the team right now, and Gainey has built around him up front. While Koivu might be willing to move to the second line in name, it would still be a slap in the face. This is not Vincent Lecavalier we are talking about, but Daniel Briere.
In any case, I am glad we didn't get the little greedy one-time 95 point man, who would look awfully overpaid (in my opinion) when playing in Carbo's system and putting up Koivu-like numbers. I'm also glad he went to the Flyers – who were last even with the superior Forsberg last season. I am, yet again, highly disappointed in the French press, who do nothing but badger Koivu about anything and everything day and night. Ca suffi.