It's like the adage that everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. Sometimes the ultimate reward requires going through some suffering. Briere's game is like that. At 5-foot-10, always sniping around the crease, he takes a lot of punishment and pays for everything he collects.
So far in this opening playoff series, Briere has collected a team-leading five goals, including two enormous ones on Sunday. He scored to lift the Flyers from an early 2-0 deficit and again to tie the game at 3-3. There was a lot of hockey left, a lot of turns remaining in the game - there always seem to be with the Flyers - but the game would have never gotten close without Briere.
Since the lockout season, Briere has compiled an NHL-best 89 playoff points, and his 38 goals is second-best in the league during that time. For his career, he has 92 points in 92 postseason games. The only other active player to average at least a point per game is Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.
This is the time of the year when players earn their money and their reputations. It is Briere's time.
"As the regular season was winding down, you could see him ramping up. He knew the time was coming," coach Peter Laviolette said. "That's a quality right there."
Briere credits his former Buffalo teammate Chris Drury with teaching him by example how to prepare mentally for these moments, for learning the elusive art of not being afraid.
"I watched him. 'This is the way you compete. This is the way you show up for big games.' I wanted to be like that," Briere said. "There were times in my career when you have that hesitation. But if you are able to say that things are going to turn out good and I'm going to make it happen, there's a big difference there. Chris had that mentality, that belief."
For the most part, Briere only lets his competitive side show through his play. But between the second and third periods of Sunday's game, he made a rare address to the team. It was a combination of things. The Flyers had allowed a late goal in the second period and were behind again, once again flirting with elimination. And Briere was angry that it might end so suddenly and needlessly; angry that Sabres' forward Patrick Kaleta had chided Briere and Scott Hartnell on the ice about their recent divorces; just angry at the world.
"It was four or five minutes before we headed back out and he was standing up and he let it rip a little bit," Laviolette said. "He wasn't ready [for it to end]. It wasn't time. We need to dig in. . . . I was inspired. I'm too old and heavy, but I wouldn't have minded grabbing my skates and going out and trying to help. It wasn't a rah-rah thing. It was just him venting and him going off and, oh, my God."
Briere downplayed his role and didn't much want to talk about either Kaleta ("I'm not going to name anyone"); or what was said ("He definitely crossed the line"); or about his own future as a motivational speaker ("It was probably a little out of character").
"It wasn't something that was planned. It was just the heat of the moment," Briere said. "I don't know if it helped at all, but it didn't hurt, and I was fired up."
That's fine, because this is the time of year for that. This is the time of year for knowing the difference between wanting to win and actually making that wish come true.
"Guys respect him when he speaks and to see him rally the troops like that was kind of cool," said young winger James Van Riemsdyk. "You could see that burning desire."
It will be on display again in Game 7, and Briere won't be the only one who has it. What he learned in his career, he's passing on to others now, and the Flyers have a roomful of players who will remain believers until the last light is doused.
That's no guarantee they will win. It's just means they know how, and that counts for something.
Contact columnist Bob Ford at email@example.com and read his blog at http://www.philly.com/postpatterns.