January 25, 2007
By Brian Wheeler
Daniel Briere became part of a pretty exclusive club on Wednesday night. With a goal and four assists, Briere earned MVP honors in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game and joined such hockey legends as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Ray Bourque, Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr in the prestigious club.
"I don't think it's sunk in," said Briere. "I don't think I fully realize what's going on. One thing I can tell you is it's very exciting. I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it. That was my goal coming into this week, trying to enjoy my time here.
"Growing up, I've watched a lot of All-Star games. I've watched lot of guys get named MVP. I never thought in the first place, that I'd ever get the chance to come here and play in the All-Star Game."
Briere became just the second Sabres player to be named the game's most valuable player. Sniper Rick Martin accomplished the feat in 1977 with a pair of third period goals, including the game winner, to lift the Wales Conference to a dramatic 4-3 victory.
"I feel fortunate just to be here and to win the MVP," said Briere. "I got help from guys around me tonight, playing with (Dany) Heatley, (Marian) Hossa and (Zdeno) Chara."
Briere squad couldn't rebound the way Martin's did in the late 70s, even though the Gatineau, Quebec-native posted an Eastern-Conference high plus-five rating. The Western Conference defeated the East 12-9 after taking a 9-6 lead into the third period.
"That line of Heatley, Hossa and Briere was a very good line and made some great plays," said Sabres and the Eastern Conference's head coach Lindy Ruff. "Danny made several really good passes and they just seemed to click."
The five-foot-nine, 177-pound center helped the Eastern Conference to a victory in the skills competition on Tuesday night, competing in the Puck Relay and Shootout competitions. Both events showcased Briere's quick hands, the two weapons that have scored him a team high 57 points (18+39) in 49 games for Buffalo this season.