Jan 21, 2009, 9:00 AM EDT
Undoubtedly, Danny Briere still has a ways to go towards justifying the eight year, $52-million contract he signed in 2007, which briefly made him the highest-paid player in hockey. But you gotta admit that the guy has had his moments–such as on November 21st, 2007, when Briere scored his first-ever hat trick in the Orange and Black. Against the Carolina Hurricanes and one-time finals MVP Cam Ward, Danny found the net three times in the final period, making the difference in the Flyers' 6-3 victory. The win brought them to 12-7-1 for the season–not bad for a team that had the worst record in the NHL the prior year.
"There was a lot on the line tonight," said Briere of the win, which came after a bad 6-2 home loss to the New Jersey Devils in their last game. "We wanted to prove our start wasn't a fluke, and we can play with the best teams." As good as the win was, though, it was probably more relieving to Flyers fans to see the $52 million dollar man coming through for them in the clutch. "That, to me, is the best he's looked all year," said coach John Stevens.
Briere's somewhat-disappointing numbers, as well as his frequently in-question health, have come to hang over the ex-Sabres star's tenure in Philadelphia a little (Danny was recently listed by ESPN The Magazine in their "Fool's Gold" column for non-cost-efficient players, citing his minus-26 rating since donning the Flyers sweater). But his team-leading 31 goals were a big part of the franchise turnaround that took place in the '07-'08 season, and for that–and games like this–at least a little respect is probably due.
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