Philadelphia Flyers: 3 off-the-Ice Reasons for Mike Richards, Jeff Carter Trade
After the Philadelphia Flyers and GM Paul Holmgren stunned the hockey world by trading franchise cornerstones Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, many fans were left wondering what could have caused the team to trade these two home-grown stars.
Here are 3 potential off-the-ice reasons for those trades.
As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.
#3: Their Relationship with Chris Pronger
Its no secret that Chris Pronger is one of the most outspoken players in the NHL, both on and off the ice. And its no secret that Pronger has been displeased with the "Old City Crew" of Richards, Carter, forward Ville Leino, defenseman Braydon Coburn and winger Scott Hartnell at various points over the past two seasons.
Pronger has been a Captain for two different franchises during his career. With that experience comes expectations that the current Captain will conduct himself in particular ways, do certain things, and maintain specific relationships.
One can only surmise that Richards' was not living up to those standards, which explains why numerous reports have surfaced that Flyers were going to Pronger, not Richards, to handle team matters.
#2: Their Party-Happy Lifestyle
In the weeks since the trades, numerous reports have surfaced that Richards and Carter had been partying regularly, drinking heavily, and their late-night antics were seriously impacting their on-ice performance.
The latest report, which cites two former Flyers players, states that Richards and Carter both refused to participate in numerous "Dry Islands"—one month periods where players would not drink. Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette, according to the report (which has been confirmed by GM Paul Holmgren) asked each player to write his name on the locker room board as a pledge. Numbers 17 (Carter) and 18 (Richards) both were not on the board at least 5 times.
One report goes as far as to say that other members of the Flyers team were "concerned" about the pairs drinking habits—something which seems to indicate Richards or Carter could have developed a alcohol problem. However, this is just a report and has not been confirmed by the Flyer organization or any current members of the team.
#1: Their Relationship with Peter Laviolette
If there were any doubts that Peter Laviolette is locked-in as the Flyers' Head Coach, the trades eliminated them. GM Paul Holmgren and Laviolette are reported to have a very close relationship, and its certainly plausible that if Laviolette had wanted Richards or Carter to remain in Philadelphia, they would be here. It was certainly possible for Holmgren to sign newly acquired goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov without moving either Richards' or Carter's salaries.
Reports have surfaced, dating back before the trades, that the relationship between Richards and Laviolette had deteriorated to the point that it was non-existant. While some reports went as far as to say that Richards and his head coach had not spoken in months, those reports were characterized by both sides as untrue. What is clear, however, is that something was severely amiss in the Flyer dressing room.
To find evidence of a rift between captain and coach, one need not look farther than Laviolette's own comments on the situation, where he said his relationship with Richards was "a work in progress". Apparently not enough progress was made in Laviolette's eyes, which ultimately resulted in the former franchise cornerstones' untimely departures from the City of Brotherly Love.