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Flyers Daily News: Jones, Briere Deserve A Chance

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Flyers statement after Keith Jones' hire and Daniel Briere's promotion.
Flyers statement after Keith Jones was hired and Daniel Brière was promoted.

First, some thoughts on the Flyers’ Keith Jones and Daniel Brière, fresh faces in very hot seats.

Jones is the new president of hockey operations. Briere is the general manager, having the interim tag removed on Thursday. The newest members of the Flyers’ management team face the daunting burden of turning around a wayward, yet storied, franchise.

Another burden they face will be some disgruntled fans who wanted the team to hire an outsider. To those fans, well, trust the process. The mandate is to improve the hockey club. Every decision Jones and Briere make should be based on that premise.

No one should hold it against Jones or Briere simply because they are former Flyers. Chuck Fletcher, the previous GM, came from outside the organization and his tenure was abysmal.

I think Jones is underestimated by Flyers fans. He’s a smart, likable guy who knows the team and the league. Jones has seen enough hockey first-hand to know what the Flyers need to rebuild. Jones played the final three years of his nine-year career with the Flyers and he has been a team broadcaster for more than two decades.

“[When] teams would come in, general managers always get in his ear to see what’s going on,” broadcaster Al Morganti told NBC Sports Philadelphia in a video posted on its website. “And I did know that even within the Flyers’ organization, they really valued his opinion on things.”

We don’t know if Jones, 54, is the NHL’s next great team president, or even a good one. We know he has no management experience and we don’t know if that will hamper him as the team goes through a necessary rebuild.

The Flyers hope Jones represents a new voice in a familiar package. He likely will become the friendly face of an organization that feels a disconnect from its fan base. He will use his connections behind the scenes to work with Briere and coach John Tortorella to help rebuild the on-ice product.

Brière has some managerial experience but nothing like the cauldron of being an NHL GM. Like Jones, he knows his team and he knows the league. From all indications, Jones, Briere and Tortorella are committed to working well together.

“I’ve dedicated my life to the sport of hockey and to be given this opportunity with the confidence from Dan Hilferty and the leadership group, in a city that means so much to me, words cannot describe my excitement,” Briere said in a statement released by the team.

How quickly these former players transition from being “one of the boys” to “The Man” could determine the Flyers’ new path and philosophy. They will be under the microscope, their every move watched and questioned. It’s  fair to wait and see where they take this team and how they get there.

Flyers today

It should be an interesting news conference at 11:30 this morning at the Wells Fargo Center. Jones, Briere, Tortorella, Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO and Governor of the Flyers Dan Hilferty and Spectacor Sports and Entertainment president and CEO Valerie Camillo will appear together to talk about the way forward.

Also, the World Championships begin in Finland and Latvia. The United States plays Finland and Canada plays Latvia. We’ll keep our eye on whether Flyers prospect Cutter Gauthier plays after suffering an apparent head injury in a pre-tournament game.

Flyers in case you missed it:

Analysis of the Keith Jones hire and Daniel Briere promotion.

The Flyers have selected No. 7 in the draft four times.

Around the National Hockey Network:

Vegas Hockey Now: Golden Knights forward Alex Pietrangelo gets a one-game suspension for a nasty slash on Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl late in the Oilers’ Game 4 victory.

Florida Hockey Now: Panthers coach Paul Maurice keeps things loose, even after a Game 4 loss to Toronto.

Montreal Hockey Now: Canadiens could move up from their fifth spot in the draft.

Last night’s results:

The Hurricanes advanced to the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Devils in New Jersey.

The Stars took a 3-2 series lead with a 5-2 victory over the Kraken.

Tonight’s playoff games:

Toronto returns home trailing the Panthers, 3-1. The Maple Leafs forced Game 5 by winning in Florida, 2-1. Faceoff is at 7.

The fierce Edmonton-Vegas series is tied, 2-2, with critical Game 5 in the desert. Game 4, a 4-1 Edmonton victory, ended with a brawl and it will be interesting to see if there is any carryover. Faceoff is at 10.

Both games are on TNT.

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