Jones, Briere have something notable to help fend off inexperience concerns


In a way, there is a fearlessness to Danny Briere and Keith Jones as they embark on these uncharted waters.

The fear wouldn't necessarily be their lack of experience. Instead, it'd be the risk of staining their images, sacrificing their own comfortableness within the hierarchy of Flyers world.

Briere became a beloved player in Philadelphia with his postseason prowess and signature fist pump. With 37 goals and 35 assists over 68 playoff games for the Flyers, he owns more postseason points in franchise history than Tim Kerr, Reggie Leach, Rick Tocchet, Eric Lindros, Rod Brind'Amour, Eric Desjardins and Dave Poulin — all Flyers Hall of Famers.

He is held in high regard among the team's rabid fan base. He didn't need to take on the pressure-filled role of Flyers general manager. After all, it's not the most enviable job right now.

Jones is universally liked within the game of hockey. He's personable and self-deprecating. He knows the game and can astutely articulate his thoughts on it, hence why he had been Jim Jackson's broadcast partner for the last 17 Flyers seasons on Comcast SportsNet/NBC Sports Philadelphia. He was so good that he worked his way up to the national level, as well.

Not bad gigs. The former Flyer-turned analyst has endeared himself to Philly sports fans. He didn't have to take on a president of hockey operations job for a team trying to rebuild its brand and win back many fans.

These types of jobs come with massive targets. Briere and Jones don't seem apprehensive whatsoever to wear them. There's something to be said about that as Briere was named the Flyers' full-time general manager Thursday and Jones the president of hockey ops.

More: How Jones hire happened, what has Briere's 'full attention,' more in takeaways

The organization has missed the playoffs in three consecutive years for the first time since 1989-90 to 1993-94, when it went five straight seasons without a postseason berth. Fan interest has suffered over the last two seasons as 108 losses have piled up (56-84-24) and significant changes have been made to the franchise's direction.

But Briere and Jones still wanted this and that's a good first step. There's confidence to change things and determination to do it.

"I consider the Philadelphia Flyers organization the gold standard of the NHL and professional sports," Jones said in a statement released by the team Thursday. "I’ve seen how this city and these fans can rally around their team and there is nothing that compares to that feeling. With this leadership group in place, I am beyond excited and fully confident that we are on the right path and the results will come."

Any concerns about the inexperience of the Flyers' new brain trust are fair and valid. Briere is 45 years old and has never been an NHL GM or AGM. Jones has never worked in hockey operations.

It's one thing to want the job, but it's another to conquer the pressure of it.

Briere and Jones are smart and really good people — well-liked, well-spoken, well-versed in the Flyers' tradition and why it has been lost. Time will tell if they are the right people. The vision and action have to be bold, have to be different.

Sure, the two are former Flyers, but these are not the same-old hires.

They come in fresh. And, well, pretty fearless.

Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Contact Us