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Crossing Streams Podcast (Episode 2): Dan Gross, Former Daily News Gossip Columnist and Newspaper Guild President

Kyle Scott - March 15, 2013

Dan_Gross
Photo: Jessica Griffin, Daily News

Dan Gross joined me for this show. He is the former gossip columnist for the Daily News and Philly.com, as well as the former president of the Newspaper Guild, the union that represents Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com writers and advertising staffers. His departure was interesting not only because he was a longtime Daily News employee, but also because the perception was that, as the guild president, Dan knew something about the future of the company that most others didn’t. That wasn’t the case, however– Dan took an optional buyout to pursue other opportunities. He’s working on what’s next, and is currently doing some crisis management for a local public figure, whose name Gross has been tasked with keeping from you.

We had a good conversation about gossip and entertainment writing, and how some readers love it and others absolutely hate it. Dan broke the Flyers Dry Island story after Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were traded, and he says that the real key to that story, which Daily News editors were uncomfortable printing, was not that Richards and Carter were big partiers (something everyone already knew), but that some of their teammates were concerned about their alleged use of prescription painkillers.

Dan also talked about his confrontation with Allen Iverson and his reporting of the Scott Hartnell and Sheena Parveen sightings. We finished up by talking about the current state of Philly newspapers and their decision to separate the Inquirer and Daily News websites from Philly.com.

Dan’s a good dude and you should follow him on Twitter (@DanGross215). He lost his 13k followers when he left the Daily News, and has been forced to start from scratch– he’s gained over 1,500 followers in just over a month (with the help of porn star Mary Carey). I know he has some cool things in the pipeline, and he’s a valuable addition to any timeline. 

 

Listen here.

We’re not in iTunes yet, but that link will work on your iPhone. Listen to past episodes of Crossing Streams here.

 

Show notes:

Gross announces that he’s leaving the Daily News

Gross breaks Dry Island story

Allen Iverson tells Gross to “kiss his ass”

Scott Hartnell had drinks with Sheena Parveen

Inquirer and Daily News will separate from Philly.com

Gross’ departure mentioned in NY Post article about negotiations at Philly newspapers

Ilya Bryzgalov Already on Dry Island

Kyle Scott - August 25, 2011

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Oh amazing.

At the end of Bryz's introductory press conference (which took place after a light workout), he joked that he was winded when putting on his jersey:

"I gotta quit smokin'… Actually though, guys, I'm not doing drinking." 

 

Dry Island!!!

Unfortunately, Paul Holmgren was out of frame at this point, but I imagine his reaction went something like this:

A few months ago, we learned that Bryz is a longtime resident of Dry Island, where he owns a weathered beachside cottage with wind chimes that sing with each passing Bryz (sorry- I had to). He quit drinking at age 17

Watch video of the awkward moment after the jump. The hushed silence that befell the room was priceless. I apologize for the screen grab taken in the middle of the stream…

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As the Puck Ices: Mike Richards Downplays “Dry Island,” Nikolay Zherdev Takes Shots at Holmgren and Lavs

Kyle Scott - July 27, 2011

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Yeah, he's going to do just fine in LA

This Flyers offseason is part WWE, part One Life to Live, and has elements from The Wire, Goodfellas, and a soon-to-be-released Amy Winehouse TV serial. Ex-Capitan fired back at the Dry Island story yesterday.

One Zero was in LA to look for a house, meet his new (old) bosses, and speak with the media. He flatly denied Dry Island played any part in him getting traded.

Here’s what he told TSN :

"I believe what happens in the dressing room should stay in the dressing room," Richards told TSN's That's Hockey on Tuesday. "It was just something that happened for a handful of guys, just more of a playful thing that half the team took part in and the other half didn't.

It wasn't a big deal…It was just a joke around the locker room and obviously leaked out and someone's trying to make a mountain out of it." 

 

Seeing as though Paul Holmgren called it part of the “inner sanctum" of the Flyers' locker room, I’m not so sure the team viewed it as a joke- as ridiculously hysterical as it was.

"It couldn't be further from the truth," Richards told TSN. "Unfortunately, things get blown out of proportion and things get said and taken out of context too. I'm not sure if people are trying to get a sense of it or trying to convince other people that it was the reason, but at the same time, it's not true at all."

 

I’m not really sure what to think, anymore. On one hand, I’m sad to see Richie and Carts go and think the team made a rash decision because of one blown season… On the other, the more that comes out (and the more people I speak with), it becomes clear that these guys weren’t in good standing with the organization. 

Anyway, Richie defended himself. What should he care? Look at the Kings.com reporter. Left coast, baby. Left coast.

Speaking of out there… Nikolay Zherdev, who may have threatened to kill his wife two months ago, voiced his displeasure with Homer and Lavs. Here are the quotes from (@euroflyers), Broad Street Hockey’s … wait for it … European reporter:

"I had a good preseason. The coach promised me a top 6 role. But when the season started, I was somehow in the bottom 6

The coach told me I should be fighting more. But I'm not a fighter, right?"

 

In reference to Homer calling him “an outsider”: [Philly Sports Daily]

“[Zherdev was] kind of an outsider here,” general manager Paul Holmgren told the media after last season. “I think some of that is a language barrier and I think some of that is just how he is. I asked him yesterday why he had a car service all year. Why wouldn’t you ask one of your teammates to give you a ride? He’s just a different guy.”

 

… Zherdev had this to say:

"I heard what Holmgren told about me as a person. I was just wondering, how can he know what kind of a man I am when he saw me 4 times?

Why shouldn't I use a driver service if I have no car & don't know the city? What's the big deal? I had the right to do so."

 

Maybe the car service was a good thing, since, ya know, he did try to smash his Bentley to bits with his wife inside. Flake, yo.

Peter Laviolette Talks to Mike Missanelli About Dry Island

Kyle Scott - July 25, 2011

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That is a pictorial representation of the interview Peter Laviolette just had with Mike Missanelli. Just dodge. Just fucking dodge everything. 

This thing is like goddamn Fight Club, only weirder and less fun.

Instead of directly acknowledging the existence of Dry Island (though he did admit it in a very convoluted way) and saying that it was implemented to keep some of the younger guys in line (a reasonable crusade), Lavs told Missanelli that it was meant to cover all manner of drinking:

"Everything right now is being referred to in a partying type mode and that wasn't the case at all, either. It was a casual glass of wine with dinner, and I asked that person to give up that casual glass, as well. And some did and some didn't.

Whether you were having three glasses of wine, or one beer, my point was any alcohol that got taken out of play in that stretch run, while we were trying to push to get back into the playoffs, could have helped the team in any way.

I'm going to not comment on who did and who didn't. And just leave it that as a team, we did the best we did to get our team in position for the playoffs.

If someone went home and had a casual glass of wine with dinner, a player 34-years-old and his wife's cooking dinner and he had a glass of wine and then maybe another half a glass or whatever, my thought was, if that wine were removed, because of our situation it would be better for our team."

 

That is fucking ridiculous.

This means if Chris Pronger went home and decided to have a glass of merlot before making sexual with Lauren, he would have been violating the statutes of Dry Island. Makes sense.

Lavs then challenged the report by championing the accomplishments of the two cornerstone players the team just traded away.

"The way [Jeff] came back from two broken feet was nothing short of miraculous for me as a coach… He came back, he did everything he could with two broken feet to come back and help us play."

 

Jeff_carter_foot

Then this:

"And I think Mike's play speaks for itself." 

 

So then why trade him?

Because the partying most likely did play a part. That's why.

Lavs should have just stayed off the radio. The goals of Dry Island were noble. There's no reason to hide it. But the request it carried with it is absurd. If you're 34-years-old and your boss asks you to not have wine with dinner, punch him in the face. On the spot. You have my permission.

Then things just got nutty:

"I can't comment on [people seeing them out] because I don't know that's true. That's speculation. Do you have the names of the people who saw these guys out?"

 

Really? Really? Just stop. You're better than this, Peter.

You can listen to the whole slithery, I did my homework but I forgot it at home then I slipped in a puddle interview right here.

Welcome to Peter Laviolette’s “Dry Island,” the Place that May Have Gotten Mike Richards and Jeff Carter Traded

Kyle Scott - July 25, 2011

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Miller Lite is not welcome on Dry Island

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).

Carcillo, who went to Cabo (not an island, not dry) with Richie and Carts after the season and Tweeted about finger-banging a broad in Atlantic City, was not re-signed by Holmgren.

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!

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