"It took you a while to warm up to me - about a year," a smiling Brind'Amour told Laviolette.
Brind'Amour was articulate, funny, and touching in his speech, and he wiped tears from his cheeks on several occasions.
"If there was ever a Hall of Fame for parents, you two would be at the top of the list," he told his mother and father.
Flyers captain Mike Richards presented Brind'Amour with a crystal Tiffany piece, and the Flyers wore No. 17 with Brind'Amour's name on the back during pregame warm-ups. The Hurricanes also wore Brind'Amour jerseys during warm-ups.
Because the Flyers have a deeper talent base than last season, Laviolette has been able to reduce the minutes of many of his top players - which he hopes will pay dividends during the stretch run and the playoffs.
In theory, the Flyers will be more energized.
"You want to win every game, but you can manage your bench and run it differently because of where we are in the standings and the depth of our lineup," Laviolette said. ". . . We've been able to keep everybody's minutes low, and it also allows everybody to keep in play - and I think that's important as well."
Adding Andrej Meszaros and Sean O'Donnell in the off-season has enabled Laviolette to reduce the time of his Big Four on defense: Chris Pronger (25 minutes, 55 seconds per game last year to 22:20 this season), Matt Carle (23:23 to 21:10), Kimmo Timonen (22:52 to 22:22), and Braydon Coburn (21:08 to 20:23).
In addition, key forwards such as Richards (20:24 to 18:55) and Jeff Carter (19:18 to 18:03) haven't played as much - keeping them fresher - because of the increased playing time of blossoming players Claude Giroux (16:36 to 18:55), James van Riemsdyk (12:57 to 14:17), and Andreas Nodl (8:55 to 13:27).
The playing time of the Danny Briere line, created during last year's playoffs, has increased because of its effectiveness. The line is composed of Briere (16:35 to 18:14), Scott Hartnell (15:43 to 16:31), and Ville Leino (12:39 to 16:05).
The recent deal for winger Kris Versteeg, who has averaged 18:50 per game this season, has added to the Flyers' depth.
Leino, who sat out Wednesday's win with a hip/groin injury, returned Friday. . . . Giroux became the third Flyer to open a Twitter account, but he closed it the same day because he said it was "too much work."
- Sam Carchidi