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Earlier, we showed you a stealthy picture Paul Holmgren strolling the beach in Avalon. His former captain, Mike Richards, also spent some time by the water this weekend, in Kenora… only Mike was joined by a friend– Phil Pritchard, who’s also known as The Keeper of the Cup. Yeah, that guy. Mike and Phil had a certain, silver friend with them.
Cue all the Type OB zealots in the comments who can’t deal with a little tongue-in-cheek post about the former Flyer winning the game’s greatest prize, Lord Stanley's Cup.
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Meanwhile, his scavenging buddy, Mike Richards, may or may not have grab-assed this buxom, valley-titted clubgoer as he shuffled through a crowd loosely resembling the partiers in Eyes Wide Shut (presumably sans pubic hair).
UPDATE: That's not just any clubgoer– per a reader in the comments, that's Stacie Hall from The Hills that Richie is grab-assing.
Give it a little jump.
These are the sorts of text exchanges my buddy Matt and I have been having over the last few months, since the Flyers were, for the second year in a row, eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
Matt, who once wrote a post for this site entitled Why Mike Richards is the Perfect Captain for the Flyers, pivoted and shape-shifted more quickly than Paul Holmgren at a press conference almost instantly when the Flyers traded Richards and Jeff Carter.
Like many, Matt believed (and still believes) that the trades were the right moves for the organization that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since seven years before he was born– they acquired young talent, unloaded disinterested forwards, and got that goalie the team finally wanted yada yada yada something about this team is built to win.
I disagree with Matt. While I see his points, and acknowledge that the Flyers acquired a lot of young talent last summer, I am irked by yet another reactive decision by the organization that traded away six draft picks who played in the most recent Stanley Cup Finals.
And thus is the divide.
Ever since June 23, 2011, the day Holmgren shot and killed Richards and Carter – who, combined, were signed to 23-year, $127 million contracts – there has been a rift amongst Flyers fans.
In the far corner, Matt’s corner, wearing the Orange and Black trunks, are those who, from the moment the trades were made, championed the deals. They believed unloading two massive contracts, acquiring young talent and an all-world goalie was an absolute win for the Flyers. And they still feel this way.
In the other corner, wearing khakis and J. Crew sweatshirts (?), is everybody else. Those who, understandably, were irritated by what seemed like a knee-jerk reaction to a bad season, and whose feelings of dismay only worsened when Richards and Carter wound up in LA and did this earlier this week:
There’s a battle between those two groups of fans. I sit firmly in the latter corner, but acknowledge the points made by the Type OB fans, even though I may have called Matt a “dope.”
Me and him go way back and used to fight over which KaZaA tunes to play in our dorm room while we were roommates during our freshman year at Villanova. I once threw a notebook at his head and organized an awkward and drunken (I believe I was standing on a chair, swigging from a bottle of Vladimir) floor meeting to address an issue that had come up with our neighbor, who had hooked up with some B-lister Matt was getting with. Or had tried to get with. Whatever.
So we go way back, Matt and I. Our sports discussions are always spirited, but fun. And I haven’t thrown a notebook at this head since 2002.
As for the rest of you… we don’t know each other. And that means the subject of Richards and Carter quickly turns ugly and personal, especially on Twitter:
And in the comments:
You make yourself look so stupid with this post. Numerous time throughout the year you applauded the trade. Now all the sudden it is not so good. The Kings win the Cup regardless of the trade for Richie and Carts. Anyone can win a cup when your goalie is that much better then anyone else's
Kyle left college knowing 2 things. 1)The Flyers had a core of young talent and 2) His growing curiosity in men needed to be unleashed…In comes his creation of CrossingBroad.com. Kyle was a big fan of Philly sports and handy with computers so he decided to blog about it. Using his pedigree setting up MLB.com shopping carts, never being an athlete and lack of professional journalism experience, he created a website that finally gave him the attention he so desperately needed. The problem was Kyle soon realized he wasn't smarter, or faster out there than any other idiot out there with a laptop that called themselves a member of the media…his blog wasn't going well either, but Kyle had something up his sleeve! He was going to find pictures of his favorite athletes on Facebook and twitter! And steal intellectual property from websites like deadspin and create "TMZPhillyAthletes."
And of the less eloquent variety:
If kept them here we would have lost to Shittsburgh in round 1. Thats all their is too it.
So knock it the fuck off Kyle.
All because of a disagreement over the third most popular sports team in the city.
Anyway, insane people aside, I respect the opinions of those who applaud the moves: The Flyers do, in fact, get a number of young, talented players in return or as a result of the trades– Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Ilya Bryzgalov.
Richards and Carter were a bit of a problem off the ice. Reports range from them being awful with the media to taking prescription pain killers, and everywhere in between. Rumors go even further, saying the players were into recreational drug use. And, it seems, there was a disconnect between those two, the coaches and front office. So, trading them, at least on the surface, wasn’t an awful idea. Plus it freed up money to get a goalie.
I get all that.
But I also think that the out-of-nowhereness of the trades, especially after Carter had just been signed to an 11-year contract, was troubling. For five years, the team had touted Richards and Carter as the future. Yet after one early-round exit, they were traded.
To me, it was all too reactive, and I think Richards and Carter winning a Stanley Cup, playing major roles with the Kings, proves that they were quite capable of thriving in, or assimilating into, a winning environment. Or whatever hokey phrase you want to use. But, when those points are brought up, there seems to be head-scratching stock rebuttals, as reflexive as the Flyers’ instinct to trade their two star players.
Former Devil Bobby Holik thinks so too. He wrote this on his blog yesterday:
I read reports about the Flyers organization being happy the Kings won, and even rooting for them after their second round loss to the Devils. I can't see how the Flyers are happy. How could a team who decided Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Simon Gagne couldn't win in orange and black, feel great about guys who won the second they left Philadelphia?
I just cannot believe it for a second. I played in the NHL for almost two decades and never came across such a "friendly" attitude. NHL hockey is a tough and very competitive business.
How can the media not call out the Flyers for trading these guys? After all, it was a sudden shift from when they drafted them, nurtured them, and then built a Stanley Cup Final team around these players. Two years later, they got rid of them, and they go on to win. I respect the media, but they need to question Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider, because it shows a deficiency in the way the Flyers conduct their business.
We may not be media, in the traditional sense, but a lot of you read this site. So let’s do that. Let’s call out the Flyers for trading these players.
It is with great pleasure that I give you The Definitive Mike Richards and Jeff Carter Argument Guide – a crib sheet, if you will – to combat your enemy, no matter which corner you sit in. But mostly if you sit in mine.
Since Christian Bale is a badass motherfucker and The Prestige is one the best movies ever, I shall present the arguments to you in the form of a 19th century magic trick.
Henceforth we go!
Carter choked up at one point. "Dean showed a lot of faith in me," he said. "A lot of people doubted us. A lot of people doubted me. Proved them wrong." At another point, Richards skated by wearing a gray championship T-shirt and holding a blue bottle of Bud Light.
"It was a frustrating year," Richards said. "It was ups and downs. It was highs and lows. But this is one of the best groups I've ever been a part of … the resiliency, the camaraderie that we had. It was awesome."
Richards and Carter, the much-maligned friends from Philly, shared some words, though Carter wouldn't share them with reporters. "I can't tell you," he said. "You guys would have too much fun with them."
Here we find the Carts in a familiar scenario– with Richie, in the winner’s circle, this time hoisting sports’ greatest trophy, Lord Stanley’s Cup. And to be frank, we haven’t seen Jeff this happy since that time he and his cowboy hat proudly brought three cases of Miller Light into La Costa. Or when he and his buddies had that red fist. They loved that red fist.
Traded Shot last summer by an overreactive Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider, Carts was wounded, at times not leaving his Sea Isle house for days. He finally came around, not so willingly, when front office members from the Blue Jackets, his new team, flew to New Jersey to assuage his feelings.
They were of no help.
Carts’ buddy and the alpha male in their relationship, Mike Richards, was in a better place. He had been shipped off to LA, where the sights were beautiful, the women scantily clad, and the hockey not so bad.
It was tough times for both men, though. The separation took its toll and there was much commiserating, by phone, during those long summer nights.
But they had shared adversity before: There was the time they went to Chester to see Becks but Becks wasn’t there:
I. Don't. Know, Michael.
And then there was the…
… actually, that was it. There was never any adversity. Just partying… and that one time David Beckham didn't show for the Union-Galaxy match.
Jeff wasn’t quite sure how to deal with his newfound struggle. He took a private jet to visit Richie in Canada. Later in the year, when the Blue Jackets came to Philadelphia, he was injured. So he rented a luxury box and had a sad:
But then things started looking up. The trade winds swirled and, eventually, Carts was shipped off to LA to join his former captain, his first mate, Mike Richards.
Happy days were here (there, I suppose) again. Carts and Richie were together, and it felt like home. Flyers West, if you will. Simon Gagne and Justin Williams were there. John Stevens was behind the bench. And Ron Hextall, upstairs.
Now they're all Stanley Cup champions. The Cup, standing guard as Richie and Carts railroad struggling actresses from The Valley.
All their friends? Excited.
SoCal swagger DeSean Jackson, who reps the Stanley Cup Camps:
Actor Kevin Connolly:
Hunter Pence’s Sister:
Al Michaels and his flip phone:
Paul Holmgren? Not so much:
Pic via (@DomHadik)
Join us now, if you will, in viewing a pictorial of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards winning the Stanley Cup.
The days are long and the weather is hot, and that can only mean one thing: The NHL summer rumor mill is here and we can’t wait to see what sort of reactive and organization-shifting moves the Flyers make this year! (!!!)
First up – and we’ll consider it a soft launch – JVR trade rumors… because, really, what would any Flyers rumor mill be without James van Riemsdyk discussion and Ed Snider’s blind intuition?
Not much, Bob. Not much.
Anyway, last night on Sports Final – which, surprisingly, isn’t yet hosted by Sheena Parveen in a strapless two-tone belted club dress – Howard Eskin reported that the Flyers are interested in JVR's fellow trade rumor veteran, Rick Nash:
2 be clear on what I reported on Sports Final @NBCPhiladelphia sun night. Flyers JVR delaying having surgery torn labrum. Could holdup trade
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) June 11, 2012
To continue Flyers like Rick Nash and a "possible" trade really can't happen until JVR is 100 percent. JVR delaying surgery on torn Labrum
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) June 11, 2012
Basically, JVR continues to hurt the Flyers even while he’s not lying in a hospital bed somewhere. Or something like that. And that's pissing the Flyers off.
It’s hard to imagine a professional athlete would delay surgery for the sole purpose of not getting traded. But who knows? The mere fact that this is being brought up and somewhat believable – the Flyers angered at one of their key players, who was a major reason why the team felt comfortable trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, for blocking a potential trade – is sad.
We’ll buy Eskin’s report, but also take it with a grain of salt, if simply because a JVR for Rick Nash trade rumor is about as expected as it comes, especially when you consider the Flyers' rodent-like propensity to kill their young: Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Patrick Sharp, Danius Zubrus, Johan Hedburg— all drafted by the Flyers, all traded. Incredibly, six of those seven are playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, and Sharp beat them in the 2010 Finals.
If history is any indication, maybe it's better that JVR could be holding up a trade.
UPDATE: Paul Holmgren, of course, denies this report, telling CSN's Sarah Baicker that an infection in JVR's foot is the reason for the delay. Somewhere, Ruben Amaro doesn't think this is a setback.