Was Mike Richards voted off Dry Island?
Dan Gross: Partying prompted parting? | Philadelphia Daily News | 07/25/2011
The hard-partying ways of Flyers captain Mike Richards and center Jeff Carter played a major role in the organization's decision to trade both players in June, say two Flyers who played with the pair last season. [...] The two unnamed players said that the Flyers front office was disappointed in Carter and Richards' longstanding party lifestyle and that teammates were concerned about the pair's drinking. Shortly after his arrival in December 2009, coach Peter Laviolette instituted what players came to call the "Dry Island." Laviolette asked team members to commit to not drinking for a month, and each player was asked to write his number on a locker room board as a pledge. No. 17 (Carter) and No. 18 (Richards) were absent from the board on the first Dry Island, as well as the estimated five more times the policy was instituted. In a phone interview Thursday, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren confirmed that Richards and Carter hadn't put their numbers on the board, but said there had been others who declined. [...] Holmgren was "really upset that this is out there. That's our locker room. Our inner sanctum. Our board. Someone's crossing a line here," in discussing the Dry Island.
So let me see if I have this correctly. Six times in the last year and a half, the Flyers coach asked players to promise not to drink for a month. That's six months out of a possible 14 (January, 2010 through May 2011, not counting summer months). Since it strikes me as pretty likely that a Dry Island month was preceded by a "wet" (i.e. problem) month (though, yes, it's possible that the dry pledge months were sequential), it seems to me that you're probably looking at 12 out of 14 months where the Flyers players, according to their coach, have a drinking problem.
It's also possible that every team does this sort of thing and it's played more in fun than as discipline. But I think if that were the case, Holmgren would have said as much.
If Carter and Richards were the bad-influence party animals that the article alleges, why would Laviolette keep going back to the Dry Island plan, since neither player ever signed on for it? I guess it's possible that Carter and Richards were so influential in their bad-acting, and the other Flyers were so impressionable and dim-witted, that Laviolette instituted the Dry Island in order to protect the naive youngsters from the older players' drunken influence.
Probably, given the pictures that have circulated over the past year, there's some fire to go with that smoke. I can't say I'm shocked that good-looking 20-something millionaire athletes sometimes party. If there had been cell phones in the 80s, imagine the pictures we would have seen of "Showtime." I'm not condoning Bacchanalian excess or consuming mass quantities of drink or drugs or groupies. I'm saying that it's naive to assume that the only ones partying are the ones who show up in pictures on the internet.
It will be interesting to see how Richards responds to Dean Lombardi's character-driven intense-training dedication-to-team Kings-tattoo-on-ass vision of hockey in Los Angeles. I'm willing to write off everything before 6/24/11 as "youthful indiscretion."
It's a good thing there's very little to tempt him here.