Never Letting Go
Chances are, if you tune in to 610 WIP, you’ll hear Howard Eskin and Ike Reese talking about Donovan McNabb. Every single time I hear a Philadelphia fan talking about McNabb, I cringe. The Eagles wanted to go in a different direction. McNabb didn’t deliver a championship. He went through ups and downs, success, failure, praise, controversy, as well as a failed run at a championship.
Even after a year of his departure, the fans still talk about the “what-if”s, or the “what-could-be”s with McNabb. They talk about if he was sick during the Super Bowl, and how they would have won it if he were healthy. They talk about if he made a completion during a certain championship game, or something along those lines. The fact of the matter is, those games are over.
Fast forward to this summer. Mired in ups, downs, successes, failures, praise, controversy, and a failed run at a championship, former captain Mike Richards was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers needed a culture change, and they decided to go in a different direction.
Out of nowhere, an article printed on June 25 brought Richards right back to the spotlight for a completely different reason. Daily News gossip writer Dan Gross reported that part of the reason that Richards (and Jeff Carter) were dealt was because of excessive partying, and their indifference to a locker room policy called the “Dry Island”. Players would write their numbers up on a white board to signify that they would not drink for a month.
There are two interesting points that come up here.
First, journalistically speaking, this was a total foul. It lacks integrity, and it lacks relevance. What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. This sentiment was mirrored by General Manager Paul Holmgren (in Gross’ article), coach Peter Laviolette (on 97.5 The Fanatic), and Richards himself (on TSN’s That’s Hockey). The article breached a sense of trust. Everyone here has a reason to be mad at either Gross for being an irresponsible writer, or a reason to be mad at the Flyers organization (or just at Richards, you tell me).
Second, will we ever leave Mike Richards alone? He has become the new Donovan McNabb of the Philly sports landscape. He was dealt to Los Angeles a month ago. Why is this newsworthy, or worthy of our attention?
He responded to the Dry Island fiasco rather candidly in his interview with TSN.
“[The allegations] couldn’t be further from the truth,” Richards said. “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.”
The more and more I think about it, the more and more I see similarities between Mike Richards and Donovan McNabb. We always find someone’s deficiencies to cling to. The fact of the matter is this. Both of these figures are gone. Their tenures in this city are over. They both got to the championship, but didn’t deliver.
The purpose of this blog is rather hypocritical, I know. Let’s just take a look at our teams. These players are not under a Philadelphia roster name.
If you thought Richards was or wasn’t a good captain, celebrate his contributions to the Flyers anyway. He brought about another era of consistent playoff appearances, and spearheaded an opportunity to lift Lord Stanley. He was part of the storied history of the Flyers, and labeled as the next icon. Unfortunately, the chips just didn’t fall into place the way we all thought they would. Sad, but true.
He’s Los Angeles’ problem now. If there’s anywhere in the world to drink and party, it’s there. We’ll see in the future if they care.