Danny Briere knows he has been off the ice too long.
Apparently so does Mrs. Briere.
"I'm going on the road [to Montreal, tonight]," Briere said yesterday. "My wife was tired of having me around and she wants to do her Christmas shopping without me."
Being on the road and playing are two very different things, and while Briere plans to travel with the Flyers through his stint on long-term injury as his groin heals, he will not think of playing until the end of the month, at least.
He is rehabbing and is back on the ice, but it's going slowly.
"I started skating by myself [Tuesday,]" he said. "We're not talking about a comeback anytime soon, but it felt pretty decent out there, and it's a step in the right direction.
"We're not doing anything too crazy. I skated for about 15 minutes [Tuesday] and about half an hour [yesterday]. But there are no stops and starts yet. No really quick change of directions yet. One step at a time. I'm very happy with the way things are going."
Since the team is winning, Briere said he doesn't feel pressured to come back early, but it also leaves him feeling left out.
"I think [the winning] doesn't force you to say, 'I have to rush back, I have to do this as soon as possible,' but at the same time, it's so exciting that you want to be a part of it.
"The team is on such a hot streak right now. Everybody is finding ways to win. You feel like you're a little bit beside the ship, but I'm happy that they're winning."
Marty Biron was still sick yesterday and did not go to Montreal for the Flyers' second meeting with the Canadiens. Scott Munroe was on the trip and will back up Antero Niittymaki for the second time this week.
Munroe has no expectations of playing, but he is enjoying the experience.
"I'm just trying to get used to the NHL game," Munroe said. "I'm just trying to take it day-by-day and when we have ice time I try to get better. I'm just trying to get used to everything up here. If I get a chance to play, I would see it as a great opportunity and just try to enjoy it.
"This is my third year with the organization and we play the same kind of a game with the Phantoms and obviously the skill level up here picks up a little." *