According to a Monday report, the Flyers recent decision to detonate the team may not have been all about the play on the ice. Per Dan Gross of philly.com, it may have been about too much playing off of it.
Gross cites two unnamed Flyers players who claim that Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were traded basically because of their refusal to give up partying.
Specifically, both Richards and Carter chose not to buy in to head coach Peter Laviolette’s anti-drinking initiative, dubbed “Dry Island” by the players, with guys asked to abstain from drinking for a month at a time. The players were asked to write their numbers on a board in the locker room as a demonstration of their commitment.
The Dry Island concept was apparently put in effect on six separate occasions, and neither Carter nor Richards wrote their numbers on the board for any of them.
It wasn’t just the Flyers front office that was concerned about the pair’s drinking, it was other players as well. And it seems that it wasn’t just drinking they were worried about. In a Monday afternoon interview with Puck Daddy Radio, Gross expanded on the issues described in his article, this time regarding the previouly unmentioned issue of painkiller pills.
“And some of the players were a little upset about the drinking, and there was a concern that, at some point when the guys were injured, they were taking painkillers,” Gross said, via Crossing Broad. “I’m not suggesting that these guys were abusing pills or anything of that nature, but the teammates were saying that they were drinking while they were being prescribed pills. So, it seemed like there was some concern on behalf of the players and also the organization about having these guys around.”
That’s pretty damning stuff. The Flyers of course aren’t happy about all this coming out.
“[I am] really upset that this is out there,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said to Gross regarding the Dry Island drama. “That’s our locker room. Our inner sanctum. Our board. Someone’s crossing a line here.”
“As far as Mike and Jeff are concerned, we made two good hockey trades that will better suit us now and for the future. Columbus is happy, L.A. is happy and the Flyers are happy with the deal.”
Not surprisingly, Carter’s agent Rick Curran wasn’t pleased about this getting out either.
“[It’s] bullshit,” Curran said to Gross, regarding the suggestion that partying caused the trades. “You’re telling me a number of accusations [that] they are out partying and not focused on hockey. For someone to suggest that behind doors without having the balls to come out publicly, consider it for what it is.” Yeah, not happy.
Richards’ agent Don Meehan did not respond to Gross regarding the story, and neither did Richards or Carter themselves.
Anyone familiar with the Flyers knows that some of the players liked to party, including Richards and Carter. Guys in their twenties with pockets full of cash like to hang out with girls and drink? Who knew? There’s a very fuzzy line between players hurting the team with partying and a team being over-aggressive in enforcing unnecessary and restrictive rules on their players.
For the Flyers, it sounds like they wanted to clear up any haze.
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