What, I thought we were in the trust tree, with the nest? Are we not?
What I am about to tell you is true. Allegedly.
Just an incredible reporting job by gossip columnist Dan Gross in today's Daily News. Somehow, Gross got to the bottom of a story that, frankly, shouldn't have taken this long to come out. He wrote, sourcing two unnamed players, that when Peter Laviolette arrived in 2009, he created what later came be to be known as "Dry Island," an excursion to an imagined Betty Ford clinic, which required players to pledge their abstinence from alcohol for one month by writing their numbers on a whiteboard. One Seven and One Eight never stepped foot on the island.
Paul Holmgren confirmed the existence of Dry Island (Jeff Probst just found the shooting location for season 962 of Survivor) to Gross: [Philly.com]
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. "We carry 23 players and there wasn't 23 numbers up there."
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.
Oh yes. The witch-hunt for which current or former player(s) leaked this begins now.
Homer called it "preposterous" that Richard's and Carter's absence from Dry Island led to the pair being traded.
But what's more preposterous, Homer? Did Lavs really expect a bunch of twenty-something millionaires to abstain from drinking for month-long stretches? That would be like asking Amy Winehouse (too soon) a gleeful pig not to roll around in shit.
Those of you who read this site on a consistent basis know that I'm all for holding players accountable. But asking them not to drink for a month at a time? Ludicrous. Luda!
As I've written numerous times before, Holmgren performed hockey genocide this offseason: Richards, Carter, Versteeg, Leino, Carcillo… all gone. It is not difficult to find stories about any of them.
In Chicago, Versteeg came under fire for these pictures, which were taken the night before a regular season game in 2010.
Leino always hung with Richie and Carts. The trio went on an All-Star break excursion to Costa Rica– not an island and likely not dry, either. Upon return, the Flyers got crushed in a 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay. Leino signed with Buffalo earlier this month (albeit for a ton of money).
Do you notice a theme?
It's not preposterous to deduce the lowest common denominator amongst the players either traded or not re-signed by the Flyers.
But wait, there's more!
Dry Island wasn't the only weird, pseudo-zen ritual (?) inside the Flyers' locker room. This past season, each player was also given a coin that they were required to have on them at all times. The Flyers confirmed the item's existence to us and said any player found without the coin was required to buy lunch (for whom exactly, we're not sure).
While the truth about the moves – specifically the trading of Richards and Carter – likely falls somewhere in between Dry Island and Paul Holmgren's lunacy, we're not going out on a limb to assume that partying – drinking – played at least a small role in the transactions. And that's why we're asking you, the reader, the puck bunnies, to help us out. We know a lot of friends, conquests, and a few of the Flyers themselves read this site. What else happened?
One email we received, just a few days after the season, claimed the Flyers' 3-2 overtime victory in Dallas on March 19th was anything but pleasant for Richie and Lavs. The tipster said – for whatever reason – Richards refused to take a shot in the six-round shootout, a denial that brought any issues between the coach and captain to a head. This is all circumstantial, but a quick check of the recap and game video did show Richie's absence from the shootout. He was also the only player on the team to not jubilantly hop the boards when Leino scored the winner, though he did later congratulate his Costa Rican buddy.
We're looking for more of that. Did you ever spend time on Dry Island with a player? Did you perhaps escape its border patrol and romp on the dunes in Sea Isle with a certain inhabitant? We want to know. We want to know before Homer goes all Jimmy Conway and whacks every visitor for falling out of Laviolette's tree of trust.