Dan Gross: Partying prompted parting?

Posted: July 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.

Carter was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets for free agent forward Jakub Voracek and first- and third-round picks in the draft, and Richards was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

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. "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.

Holmgren also said it was "preposterous" that partying was factored into the decision to trade Richards and Carter. "As far as Mike and Jeff are concerned, we made two good hockey trades that will better suit us now and for the future. Columbus is happy, L.A. is happy and the Flyers are happy with the deal."

Carter's agent, Rick Curran, told us it was "bull----" to suggest that the two were traded because of their partying. "You're telling me a number of accusations [that] they are out partying and not focused on hockey. For someone to suggest that behind doors without having the balls to come out publicly, consider it for what it is," Curran told us.

Richards' agent, Don Meehan, did not return repeated requests for comment; Carter and Richards did not respond to voice mails on their cell- phones or text messages.

OUT AND ABOUT

Will Smith surprised the crowd at the Charlie Mack Talented Teens Finals Competition Saturday night at the Yesha Fellowship Hall (2308 Snyder) when he came onstage to encourage kids to follow their dreams. The event was part of the annual Charlie Mack Celebrity Party 4 Peace Weekend. Mack, who also was surprised by Smith's appearance, is a longtime friend and bodyguard of the Overbrook-native superstar. "Streets," a film Mack produced featuring local actress Nafessa Williams, now seen on "One Life to Live," premiered yesterday at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre (480 S. Broad). Smith was there, too.

Actor Terry Crews ("Everybody Hates Chris" and "Idiocracy") dined Saturday at Buddakan (325 Chestnut). Crews, a former Eagle, was also in town for the Charlie Mack weekend.

M. Night Shyamalan brought his daughter to see Rihanna at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night as a birthday surprise.

The surprise got even better when the Shyamalan family met the singer backstage after the show.

610 WIP's Al Morganti brought Japanese eating sensation Takeru Kobayashi to Saloon (750 S. 7th) the other night or dinner. The pair ate neither wings, nor hot dogs, but crab-stuffed veal chops.

DN scoops 'Playboy'

John Bolaris is usually chasing Playboy material, not being Playboy material, but the mag is working on a story about the Fox 29 meteorologist and his South Beach shakedown. You'll recall in May the People's Paper's Dave Gambacorta reported that two Eastern European female con artists ruffied him after urging him to "do shot." He then ran up $43,000 on his American Express card over a two-day escapade.

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