Danny Briere is unlikely to hear any more boos at the Bell Centre.
The free agent forward from Gatineau, Que., has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens.
”For me, the Montreal Canadiens’ fans are probably the most passionate fans in the NHL,” Briere said on a conference call Thursday night. ”It’s an honor to be playing for them, in front of them, and all I’m hoping is that we will all be cheering in the same direction when the season starts.”
The Philadelphia Flyers last week used a compliance buyout on the final two seasons of the eight-year, $52 million deal Briere signed in 2007. Because he turned down an offer from the Canadiens to sign with the Flyers that year, Briere was booed whenever Philadelphia visited Montreal.
Now the 35-year-old returns to his native Quebec with a deal reportedly worth $4 million per season.
”Daniel Briere brings a great deal of skills, experience and leadership to our team and he is a significant addition to our group of forwards,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement. ”Daniel showed a great desire to pursue his career in Montreal and we are very happy that he committed to playing in Montreal for the next two seasons.”
Briere had only six goals and 10 assists in the lockout shortened 2013 season.
”Last season with the short season, starting behind everybody because of injuries, I am definitely looking forward to bouncing back. I’ve done that my whole life, my whole career,” Briere said. ”It’s always been about finding the motivation to bounce back. Coming to Montreal makes it really easy, first of all.
”Having the chance to play for the Canadiens, I think there’s no better motivation than that.”
He has 282 goals and 373 assists in 847 career NHL games, but was mostly coveted for his postseason play.
In the Flyers’ run to the Stanley Cup final in 2009, Briere had 12 goals and 18 assists in 23 games. In 108 career playoff games, he has 50 goals and 59 assists.