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Alcohol: The key to success

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With unbearably hot days and lack of stimulation from the Blue Jackets side of the NHL this past week, my only option is to down tallboys of cream ale and watch the program Columbus airs entitled “Slap shots”. Such an original name for a hockey broadcast—except for the fact that it is just a re-run to anyone who has been watching “Jackets TV” on the website when it posts. I have watched the first three out of nine scheduled broadcasts and found nothing new. It’s disappointing to see Ryan Johansen making a salad instead of training or giving thoughts on next season, as well as having to deal with Jeff Rimer babbling on my television set. This encourages the rate at which I drink.

This article isn’t about my drinking, but about men who are drunk and successful. No, this isn’t about the forefathers of the US but instead Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

It’s been reported the last few days that Richards and Carter were traded due to their tendency to enjoy themselves with a brew. No reports specifically on when they drank or how it affected their performance, but honestly, who cares? They both put up 66 points last season and aren’t even close to being over the hill yet. I find that when I drink I get increasingly better at throwing darts, I’m sure that throwing a wrister top shelf would be as easy intoxicated.

Maybe this could be a new trend in the league with harder hits and stumbling goaltenders. Seriously, imagine the promotional opportunity. Gatorade has already blanketed the market for most professional sports—it’s time to highlight the microbreweries local to the team. I’d be all over a power hour promo for power plays with the players on the bench lounging and knocking a few Buckeye Brewing Hippy IPAs back. There’d be an almost immediate connection between a drunken fan and the backup goaltender blacking out on the bench. The defensemen full of spunk, would murder anyone entering the blue line. At the other end of the ice their forwards would be laughing as they drunkenly deke through players and circle the net six or seven times before shooting. At the beginning of the game the arena would announce what instigates a drink. “Tonight’s drinking will be brought to you by way of shots” The Jumbotron would spew “DRINK!” every chance it sees fit. This certainly would help the Jackets make enough money to stay in Columbus; they’d just have to pay the Hosers more to clean the vomit off the ice.

But seriously, the thought of “partying” having a hand in this trade is absurd. Did they stumble into Wells Fargo Center when they came to the realization that they had a little too much to be able to make it to practice the next day so blacking out in the locker room was the best option? This is coach Laviolette and GM Holmgren’s fault in the end. The Cross Checks Blog on ESPN reports:

“According to the report, coach Peter Laviolette asked his players to commit to not drinking for a month on six occasions by writing their number on a board in the locker room. Richards and Carter did not ever participate in what was known as “Dry Island.”

General manager Paul Holmgren confirmed to the newspaper that they did not participate but said they were not the only players to decline. “We carry 23 players and there wasn’t 23 numbers up there,” Holmgren said. “

There was no reason to leak this to the press. You’re asking grown assed men to stop drinking? The only way this could become a problem is if the stats sheet reflected it.  Both players were positive in the plus/minus and tied for third in points for the entire teams. Hell, Carter led in the goals for the season.  So what did they possibly receive for these two party-boys? Three players and two draft picks? That hardly seems worth it, when you have gold you don’t just trade it away for a prospect and 2 mediocre players. Combining the stats of the old and the new last season we have another way to look at this. We find that the Flyers gained three players who had a combined 168 games played and accrued 78 points by bargaining away two players who played 178 games and racked up 132 points. It’s enough to scream if I was a Philly fan. Voracek has promise and possibly Simmonds too, but is it worth it to gamble when you had the “for sure” thing?  The Flyers have been consistently playing the post season since 1995 but this trade could derail them. Maybe it’s the way the Eastern Conference is made up weak teams, but I imagine that slowing down with these players could hinder their chances to make it to the playoffs next season, even with Bryzgalov.

In the end I’m happy; we trimmed some nice tasting fat with Jakub Voracek being traded for Jeff Carter which increases our chances for a playoff appearance. So thank you Philadelphia for giving us something you shouldn’t have, we may have our chance to play for the Stanley Cup again. I’ll be spilling my beer every time Carter scores on you and hope to meet up with him at the Ice Haus arena bar after the game to congratulate him with a round of IPAs.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers, Nicholas Lorenzi, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+carter, mike+richards

Comments

petshark's avatar

I found the Dry Island story distasteful and poorly (though predictably) timed.  That said, I don’t think it was about alcohol at all.  It was more about team commitment.  Pro athletes really shouldn’t have a problem strictly regulating their intake, so it should not have been an impossible chore for them.  Having players refuse was more of a sign that the team lacked some cohesion, and the request may have also been an overstep on Lavi’s part.

That said, in the months that followed this notorious incident the team got a lot further than they did last season, so it’s hard to say whether Lavi broke anything trying it.  Really, it was a small hiccup a long time ago in hockey years, and didn’t need to be vomited up now.

Then again, this is what happens when the news cycle slows down.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 08/03/11 at 05:07 PM ET

Primis's avatar

NHL team making you drink,, and then drink even more.

You sure you’re not a WIngs fan?

In the end this is Philly being Philly.  They overracted, made some crazy moves, and then realized fans were going “WTF” so reasons needed to be made and come up with.

Posted by Primis on 08/03/11 at 05:10 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

In a cap world, you can’t keep them all. If you try and try again with a team built around Carter and Richards (and come up short), what’s so hard to believe about replacing those guys with Giroux and JVR (our 2 best players in the post season, the season that really matters)?

To be honest, I personally prefer the latter 2 than the former, and to get Couturier, Voracek, Shenn and Simmonds for them is fine by me - The rich were really rich, and it was only a matter of time before we had to diversify our assets.

After those moves, we can challenge now (regardless of what everyone thinks, and even if the team isn’t as good, they’re still capable of competing while also coming with a new attitude knowing that nothing is guaranteed) while also being covered for the long haul in terms of prospects.

Even if you disagree with the trades, its not like they received crap in return - as well as the space gained from the guys traded..

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 08/03/11 at 05:56 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

Then again, this is what happens when the news cycle slows down.

Tell me about it. It feels like a cheap shot to drum up some attention and to give an excuse as to why they traded two incredible players. For whatever reason I’m happy they did. There’s nothing going on in the Jacket’s world except Hockey School, Tyler Wright getting promoted to a job he already does and highlighting past performances. If only Rick Nash had a twitter account….

You sure you’re not a WIngs fan?

I was when I wasn’t old enough to drink and I didn’t have a local team to back. If only Nationwide Arena walked up and down the isles with beer like the Joe. Hell they won’t even let me buy two beers at once…

Even if you disagree with the trades, its not like they received crap in return - as well as the space gained from the guys traded..

Jakub is the winner here. I’m predicting that him being in a new city will change him into a 50 to 60 point player this coming season. I’m really looking forward to watching that. The optimistic way of looking at this is that they traded two goal scoring players that were going to be paid $12.6 million to make room for Jagr and Bryzgalov combined at $13.3 million. Jagr coming back is absolutely HUGE but there’s something about a player who’s 39 that makes me weary. I’m expecting him to put it all out on the ice and might get injured in today’s game. As for Bryzgalov he’s had some of the best seasons of his career and he’s playing in a conference that he’s had a winning record against. I’m not sold on the fact that he’s worth $10 mil tho. Both a gamble imho.

It sure will be an interesting season.
My God why is this taking so long?!

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 08/03/11 at 06:23 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

With all respect and deference to Marc, I gotta say I think Philly traded themselves out of Cup contention.  I know Boston was a tough pill this year, but these guys did go to the finals the year before.  To me the partial dismantling of a solid core of forwards in order to sign Bryz just isn’t a worthy trade off, especially given Bryz’s propensity to fade away during the post season.  I know Philly has had a mountain of goalie uncertainty, but this team as it is now is a team destined for second round elimination in my mind.

As far as Philly’s relationship to Carter and Richards, it would be hard for the whole deal to be more underhanded.  For Holmgren to have those two under the impression that the organization was committed to keeping them for their careers, only to trade them off, and then “let be it known” that they’re essentially alcoholics, is pretty low.

But hey, good for the CBJ.  I have one request for Philly though, since you guys seem to like lost children (i.e. Leino and Voracek), take Jiri Hudler.  Please.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/03/11 at 06:27 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

With all respect and deference to Marc, I gotta say I think Philly traded themselves out of Cup contention.  I know Boston was a tough pill this year, but these guys did go to the finals the year before.  To me the partial dismantling of a solid core of forwards in order to sign Bryz just isn’t a worthy trade off, especially given Bryz’s propensity to fade away during the post season.  I know Philly has had a mountain of goalie uncertainty, but this team as it is now is a team destined for second round elimination in my mind.

As far as Philly’s relationship to Carter and Richards, it would be hard for the whole deal to be more underhanded.  For Holmgren to have those two under the impression that the organization was committed to keeping them for their careers, only to trade them off, and then “let be it known” that they’re essentially alcoholics, is pretty low.

Don’t get me wrong - I totally see where you’re coming from, and I agree that it was not right for the organization to handle them the way they did. I think that was a product of navigating this still relatively new cap era. We are now seeing how those long term contracts come in to play when it comes to trades, cap floors, etc. and the organization really ended up with a complacent group of forwards that couldnt go anywhere but out. They were mishandled, flat out - but I don’t think homer (he loved those guys) or anyone else on the team would call them alcoholics (that’s more the media)

I can see the argument against them being a cup contender, but I don’t think dismantling that core was all about signing Bryz - I think it had more to do with a combination of factors that led to it making the most sense to trade those guys. They end up with Voracek, Schenn, Jagr, Simmonds (4 solid roster players) at the same cost ($10.4M give or take) as they had Richards and Carter - except they also have Briere and Giroux in the fold, thus giving them a disproportionate share of salary down the middle of the ice. Something had to give..

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 08/03/11 at 06:44 PM ET

Avatar

If it’s as bad as it sounds it makes you wonder what they could accomplish if they didn’t spend so much time on the bottle.  Those boys are paid a lot of money and I don’t think it’s asking too much for them to act like professionals.  I don’t see a problem with a guy having a drink or two but it sounds like they took it well beyond that.

Posted by Steve on 08/03/11 at 10:33 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

I wonder if they both got drunk and pissed on the Wells Fargo Center doors before leaving Philly. It’s not’s like they’re getting arrested for DUI’s like 38 year old Khabibulin . I say enjoy your mid twenties while you still can! It really just sounds like they refused to join the “Dry Island” and were spotlighted because of that. I wonder if having Jody Shelley on your team requires a “Dry Island”.

Note: If I had a season like Nikolai did I’d probably drive around Arizona wasted too.

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 08/03/11 at 10:54 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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