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Drury or Briere?

This article in The Buffalo News confirms what we've all suspected for a few months now: the Sabres likely aren't going to be able to keep both Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, the team's co-captains. Both are centers, both are going to be unristricted free agents, and either, in my opinion, would be a huge addition to the Caps if General Manager George McPhee can pull it off.

By not extending the contracts of their leaders, the Sabres knew the final game would come at some point. No one in the organization expected it to arise this suddenly, though. That makes the sinking of the Stanley Cup dreams even harder to handle.
"I think you get at this point in the season when you're down to your last game, and it doesn't matter if it's a team that wins the Presidents' Trophy or a team that finishes in last place," Briere said. "It's always a little sad to leave your teammates.
"But we don't want to think about that right now. Like I said, we still believe we can come back in the series, and we're certainly not going into this game thinking it's going to be our last one."
Drury and Briere have been the perfect co-captain combination, complementing (and complimenting) each other on and off the ice. They have led the team to the conference finals in both seasons splitting the "C," and they helped make it fashionable to be a Sabres fan again.
But they will command top salaries in the NHL's marketplace, so there's doubt whether the Sabres -- who also have to worry about restricted free agent Thomas Vanek -- will be able to keep them.

So here's today's question: Which player would you most like to see in red, white and blue next season?

I know the Caps are going to face stiff competition for their services. And UFAs can pick which team they want to go to. And money is going to be an issue.

But for a moment, let's pretend the Caps have the choice.

So which one is it? Drury? Or Briere?

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 16, 2007; 8:57 AM ET
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Next: Backstrom Agrees to Terms With Caps


I think we should try to sign Briere.

Posted by: Mo | May 16, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry I do not like Briere. After the spearing of Ovie (granted it was in retaliation to the game before) I didn't like that, you wanna fight: drop em. Don't spear someone, be a man about it. Or be an even bigger man and score a goal and laugh at him when you win the game. Then I read they made there peace, ok. I can let it go.

But if I'm not mistaken he did it again in the season finale (not sure who he hit though). And you know what, forget Briere. Give me a team of Avery's (rangers dirty sob who reminds me of the great Dale Hunter) who are absolute A-holes; but not a candy @$$ like Briere.

With that said, I'll take Drury. But I think philly wants him more.

I still think Gomez would be a better fit.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | May 16, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Bring back Zubby at $3-$4M, put him on a line with Ovy and Clark (we know that line works), let Backstrom center Semin, and let some other team spend $7M /ye for 7 years on Briere and/or Drury.

Use the money to sign 2 good D-man and trade the #5 pick for a stud winger to play with Smein/Backstrom. If Bckstrom is as good as advertised, then you got yourself a playoff team.

Posted by: Genotype 55 | May 16, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Bring back Zubby at $3-$4M, put him on a line with Ovy and Clark (we know that line works), let Backstrom center Semin, and let some other team spend $7M /ye for 7 years on Briere and/or Drury.

Use the money to sign 2 good D-man and trade the #5 pick for a stud winger to play with Smein/Backstrom. If Bckstrom is as good as advertised, then you got yourself a playoff team.

Posted by: Genotype 55 | May 16, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I agree with 'Go Skins Go'. I'm thinking that Gomez would be the best choice. I don't like Briere's style either... too soft. Drury is a great player, but I don't think he's the setup man that guys like AO and Semin need to be playing with. Gomez is a great playmaker, but can also put the puck in the net. I like Drury's leadership, but I would prefer addressing the veteran leadership with a defenseman, since we have so many kids at that position who really need a mentor (I still think a trade for Sergei Zubov would be an excellent move in this regard)

Posted by: CapsDude | May 16, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

NEWSFLASH! Zubie IS NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE A CENTER ICE MAN. HE IS A WINGER! While with the Caps, he was forced to play out of position, because of a distinct lack of qualified centers.
Personally, I'd be quite comfortable with Zubie returning to the Caps ( As long as it's at a "Reasonable" price ) as a right wing for either Semen, or Ovey. That's his natural position. And, one he'd play at a high level. He's always been extremely strong along the boards. which is something all successful lines have ----- a player who's good at doing the dirty work necessary for the goal scorers to do their thing.

Posted by: puckguru | May 16, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Nylander for a two year contract.
He can mentor Backstrom and brings veteran experience.
Doesn't lock up a ton of money that will be needed in the future for Ovey and Semin.

Posted by: slappy | May 16, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Drury = Made for Playoffs Performer
Briere = Regular Season Solid

Make your choice...

Also, in regards to the greatness of Emery, I think facing 15 shots a game would make a lot of people look great. He isn't close to being a Conn Smyth winner. The reason the Sens are winning is the top line.

Posted by: ....your to Blame, Baby You Give El-Basir A Bad Name | May 16, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

between the two, drury every day of the week and twice on sundays. danielle "the urologist" briere is...well, he makes me very angry and i have no desire to see him in a caps uniform, red white and blue or otherwise. i'm not certain i think gomez will prosper outside the devils system, but i do like him as a player. between drury and gomez, i'd probably lean toward the latter, but officially call it a toss up.

Posted by: pgreene | May 16, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

did Nylander leave under bad terms? Can't remember during the fire sale who left on bad terms and who was on good terms.

And wasn't he always injured?

But it is a good thought for backstrom. If they do that, they still need a couple more mid level talent for leadership.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | May 16, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

God knows we need one of them. While it's entirely doubtful Teddy Boy will open up his pocketbook to the necessary extent, we certainly have room under the salary cap for one of 'em.

That said, if we must play front-line matchmaker, I think Briere would be the better pick - he and AO have had their run-ins, but their styles could compliment each other incredibly well if they were forced to play nice together.

Posted by: Eli | May 16, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I think bringing a player like Briere to the Caps would be foolish..I choose Drury. That being said, if it's Briere or another checking line scrub, i choose Briere. I don't agree with his dirty style of play. Like someone else said, Hunter dirty is different than far the cheapest action in the sport, especially when you hide behind two defensemen. Is that the kind of player that Ted wants to build his young team around?

Posted by: Yosh | May 16, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I actually wouldn't want either Briere or Drury. If I had to choose I'd go with Drury. I'd prefer Gomez as a top tier UFA, however I don't think the Caps are going to be able to get any of the top tier. If they want a UFA I think they're looking at a Viktor Kozlov type guy (tier two at best). If they want a top tier center I think trade is really going to be the only viable option.

Posted by: Jay | May 16, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow, hmmm.

Briere. He and Ovy seem to have stuck up a good friendship back at the all-star game. That could go a long way towards a sucessful working relationship, especially if we can bring Zuby back on the other side.

Posted by: EricS | May 16, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I can't think of anyone I'd rather NOT have than Briere. He's a diver, takes dumb penalties, and wilts in the postseason. I think the Sabres resign Drury and Briere signs in Philly with his buddy Biron.

Posted by: FS | May 16, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

As much as I agree with the comments about Briere (32 g, 63 a) and the "character" concerns, he almost doubled Drury's assist count (37 g, 32 a) while scoring a five less goals. If he can reproduce those kinds of numbers playing alongside Ovechkin (with Ovechkin getting 60-70 goals), would his spearing tendencies still be a problem?

Posted by: Blueline | May 16, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Drury all the way. Danielle (pun intended) Briere is a weenie whose only recourse in a scrum is to spear another player with his stick. He got Ovie in the groin, and Jurcina in the gut which was thankfully caught by the refs and landed him a game misconduct. Briere is just a dirty player. Drury has class and leadership and is usually pretty clutch. I'd take Drury or Scott Gomez over Briere any day.

Posted by: Brandon | May 16, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

With out a doubt, GOMEZ !!! Oh, you asked us to choose a Sabre - then I vote for Drury.

As others have stated, a veteran to mentor NB is another choice but not for the top line.

The line of AO, Gomez, & Flash along with Semin, NB, & Zubie works for me.

Use some money for a D man and we might just be in the hunt.

Posted by: 8CAPSFAN8 | May 16, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Nylander. He's a center who looks to pass first which is exactly what Ovey needs, he won't cost a bundle of money, he won't require more than a 2-3 year contract and he's the perfect mentor for Backstrom. Neither Briere or Drury fit any of those categories.

Posted by: borr4 | May 16, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I think spending a huge chunk of change for Briere or Drury or Gomez for that fact is a bad idea. I would much rather see the Caps spend a huge chuck of change on (2) solid D men. How about Sheldon Souray from Montreal or Darryl Sydor from Dallas.

Posted by: Stanley Caps | May 16, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Drury= Winner. Two cups and the little league world series. and he won't spear you in the jimmies and run away.

nylander, yes. GREAT faceoff man. don't think he left under bad terms. was part of the purge.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | May 16, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed that Drury is losing a lot of key faceoffs in this series? The Caps need a strong centerman who can win some important draws, but it seems like Drury isn't quite the master he use to be.

I don't think Briere would compliment our current roster of players. Gomez does seem like a better fit, but I still would have preferred Datsyuk over all three. O well!

Tarik, who do you think would be more effective as a Cap?

Posted by: Chris | May 16, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I would echo some of the sentiments here. I say we bring back Zuby and put him back on wing where he played a high level for Buffalo. Sign somebody like Nylander or Kozlov who thinks pass first. Maybe even both of them. If the price is right. I don't think there will be as much competition for those guys either. They are a bit older bring experience and won't break the bank, saving us money to sign Ovy and Semin again and another possible UFA after next season. I say if your gonna dump money into a UFA, a D-man veteren is the way to go. Teams pine over that all the time. I say pick up Timonen who was Nashville's captain, and is a natural leader, or Souray.

Posted by: blankn1612 | May 16, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget a possible trade. How about this idea. Sign two very good D-man. That now makes one of our young guys expendable (i.e. Emminger). Then trade Emmy and the 5th pick to San Jose for somebody like saaaaaay Marleau who has fallen out of favor and probably lost the "C" to Thorton.

Posted by: blankn1612 | May 16, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

A simple answer to the question is Drury. He is a winner which he Capitals despartely need. However, realistically we will not get either one or Gomez for that matter so everyone stop dreaming.

Posted by: 4capitals | May 16, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Personally I would go for Briere. From a fan's perspective, he's one of those guys who you hate when he's on the other team, but love when he's sitting on your bench. He's a terrific offensive player and manages to get under the skin of the opponent. The Caps need both.

From a reporter's standpoint, he's a great quote.

Don't get me wrong, Drury is as clutch as they come. He's a much better defender and leads by example. But for those reasons, I'd be surprised if he's the one Buffalo lets go.

Posted by: Tarik | May 16, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'd have to go with Drury. He's clutch and has valuable playoff experience. He can win face offs which the Caps need. And he is a good defender. I think the Caps can take some pressure off of their young defensemen with a couple of defensive forwards. Drury can score and play defense I don't see why you wouldn't want that.

Is Niko available? ;)

Posted by: Chenry5 | May 16, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I hope Briere doesn't come here. I think he's a great player, but he doesn't deserve to get stuck with the Caps with as negative as everyone has been around him here.

I'd have to say the same goes for Drury. The animosity towards the Sabres in general has left a bad taste in my mouth.

It's too bad. I really do love the Caps, but the negativity by the fans is really starting to drag me down. Yes, it's frustrating to be in a position where your team is losing a lot everyone wants to take their frustration out somewhere. But criticizing every facet of the team's management, roster (except Ovechkin, of course) and coaching isn't really the way to go, in my opinion.

When the fans start supporting the Caps more, I suppose I'll start to be more supportive about bringing great players to DC.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 16, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Drury - He would bring a great deal of leadership and experience to a young Caps team that needs a solid veteran to take the load off of Ovechkin.

Posted by: jsizzle | May 16, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

May 16, 2007 12:41 PM:

The opinions expressed by the Caps fans are not always cheery - but everyone is entitled to their opinions. The ones with the strongest opinions are real Caps fans and have been for a long time - and the fact they are passionate about the team should speak volumes.

Toronto- wow, they never have anything nice to say in about their team - but they are some of the most passionate in the league. I guarantee you they LOVE their team.

I am a HUGE caps fan, no I dont particularly care for management.

Having said all that - Back to topic - I would pick Drury. He can handle his own out there. I have always liked him since his Colarado days.

Posted by: cs | May 16, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Of the two, I'd take Drury by a mile. Briere has the flash and all but in crunch time in the playoffs I'd much rather rely on Drury. I question Briere's heart and willingness to battle.

That said, I think Gomez or Nylander would be better fits for the situation they'd be used.

Posted by: idil | May 16, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: don | May 16, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Drury is a leader and great clutch performer but since we're not close to playoff ready without a playmaker, I would have to say that Briere would better suit our needs.

Posted by: Zach | May 16, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line - either would be a vast upgrade.

Since the problem with the Caps centers have been an inability to feed snipers like Ovy and Semin - Briere is the better fit.

But if I had my choice I take Drury. The boy's clutch and a leader. Who cares if he doesn't put up 70 assists? He scores the GTG or GWG with under a minute to go on the biggest stage regularly.

Like the idea of bringing Zuby back on the wing at a reasonable cost.

All for pairing Eminger and the 5th pick for a top pairing defenseman or 1st line center. (Hello Wade Redden or Patrick Marleau - I can dream can't I?)

Posted by: C-A-P-S | May 16, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

All for pairing Eminger and the 5th pick for a top pairing defenseman or 1st line center. (Hello Wade Redden or Patrick Marleau - I can dream can't I?)

Posted by: C-A-P-S | May 16, 2007 02:32 PM


If GMGM pulls that trade off, I'd be thrilled.

But I expect they'll go after the upper of the 2nd teir players.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | May 16, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

How about trading for Tim Connolly (i know i know he has health issues). But he can pass, run the PP and stick handle with the best of them. He has been one impressive Saber this playoff year, and is due to make $3M next year. Maybe you could convince the Sabers that by trading him, they can afford to sign both Drury and Breire......

How great would it be to steal Nylander from the Rangers and leave Jagr without his setup guy?????

Posted by: Genotype 55 | May 16, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse


Why do you fill our heads with these pipe dreams??

Neither will ever happen.

But i do often dream of Drury in a Caps sweater (in an clean way)

Posted by: Comebackkono3 | May 16, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I can't honestly imagine that we'll get either a Redden or a Marleau for Eminger and the #5. That sounds way too high for two unproven high picks.

I'd spend some money on Souray/Timonen, Gomez and Drury/Zubrus.

I also read somewhere, maybe it was TSN, that the Caps should go after Forsberg. Brilliant idea. We'd only need him for a year, and we can get away with spending $3-5 million for the ultimate Backstrom mentor.

But Nylander would be a good signing, too, if our first choices are unavailable. But who says he's going to be easy to tear away from NYC? Jagr likes him.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | May 16, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Lets just say I'm glad I dont have to make the decision:-) So long as we pick up SOMEONE worth anything in the middle, it wont be a wasted offseason... But I think we should LET THE KIDS PLAY. At this point we really dont know what we have on the back line (or up front, for that matter)... every time Green or Emminger makes a mistake they are benched. If we give them some room to grow w\o rick of losing their ice time we might not need to spend big money on a D man.

Posted by: Jeff | May 16, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Drury, but I'd bet that he's the one Buffalo will try to keep.

Posted by: Fred | May 16, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Kolzig isn't getting any younger, Ovechkin isn't locked into the DC area for life, and fans are losing patience with a perrenial loser. This offseason is a very big one for the future of this fanchise because Ovy was just starting to show signs of frustration and is losing his energy. Management has had multiple top picks and good players have come and gone on to become more successful. It seems like something is wrong with the atmosphere and coaching that bringing in Briere, Drury, or Souray isn't going to fix. No disrespect to Mcphee or Hanlon, but Hartley goes to Atlanta and Hitchcock goes to Columbus and teams turn around quickly. Two years without improvement is dreadful in the new NHL. No point grabbing all this talent and having a very good minor league coaches (Cassidy included).

Having said that, I believe Drury is an overall better fit for the Caps system as it is currently even though Briere is a better passer. All the history should be meaningless since it is probably a big joke right now with the players so we should gladly welcome Briere if we got so lucky. Adding Souray would be a dream to go along with an under-appreciated Pothier.

Posted by: Pakk | May 16, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Caps should draft Pat Kane and if that means giving up extra picks this year or next year who cares....we need a young player that can speak English.

Also, Briere is a punk and I would be hugely disapointed if they made any effort to sign him. Drury and possibly Comrie would be great additions to the style of game the caps want to move forward with.

Posted by: Rob | May 16, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Which one cares more about money than winning?

That's the only one the Caps have any hope of signing. Until the Caps decide to spend all the way up to the salary cap, they won't be competitive, especially if the planned small bump in salary expenditure from 06-07 to 07-08 is eaten up by a single UFA center.

Posted by: McLean, VA | May 16, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

GMGM needs to go after Gomez hard....

If not than id take Drury, he would be a better fit. I like Briere plenty but I think he's kind of a pre-madonna and we dont need anymore of that on our team. I do like his nasty side though.

I also agree with slappy. Nylander wouldn't be a bad sign if all else fails.

Posted by: LIVINIT | May 16, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

How about bringing back Adam Oates. If he's not available, Gomez. 3rd choice Drury over briere, because Drury is a GAMER, briere is a diver.

Posted by: fred | May 16, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Bringing Zubrus back as a WING would be great. He could never win the crucial face-offs.

Posted by: mac | May 16, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I would think drury would be a better fit. Briere doesn't have a ton of playoff experience. plus he is not a first line center who can also put 30 pucks in the net. This year was probably his best year offensively.

Posted by: mac | May 16, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Drury is my pick. But I would be happy with either.

Posted by: kenhockey | May 16, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Knowing Teddy, we wont get either. Would be nice to get a defenseman or two, but I would put money on it that Backstrom is the only big offensive addition we get. We'll pretend to go after Gomez, Drury and Briere, but Teddy and GMGM will back down and blame it on the pricetag. Bank on it.

Posted by: disgruntled fan | May 17, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Briere. He's more of a playmaker.

Posted by: Charlie | May 17, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

i feel like there is a 10% chance we sign any of the three. sad

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I second (third? fourth) Nylander. Perfect tutor for Backstrom and still has a couple good years left. Plus would be a lot more reasonably priced than Gomez or Drury for $7M/yr over 5+ years. Not that I wouldn't take Gomez or Drury, of course, but Nylander would be an excellent next option.

Posted by: OrderedChaos | May 17, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Drury. Briere is too small, and we have a number of smallish wingers and centers coming up through the system. Mathieu Perrault should be as good as Briere if everything works out for him. Briere is built to be a regular season points machine. Drury is built for the playoffs. The only problem is that Drury is not really know for his playmaking. However, as center who can pass reasonably well and is good at finishing would be pretty good with Ovechkin.

Everyone clamouring for Briere will be the first ones to jump off the bandwagon when bigger teams shut him down in the playoffs.

My wish list for centers is Drury, Gomez, Comrie, Nylander in that order. Defense is another issue though. I'd like to see two solid additions that keep Green and Schultz in Hershey as callups next season. I really want to see Rivet brought in as a partner for Eminger. Hannan or a good two way PP type would be a good one for Morrison, leaving Jurcina with Pothier, and hopefully Erskine as the seventh defenseman with Green and Schultz as the first callups.

Thats a playoff team. Although having a better backup who can win more games might be good too.

Posted by: Graham | May 18, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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