When former Philadelphia Flyers captain, Mike Richards, was abdruptly uprooted and traded to the Los Angeles Kings a few weeks ago, a smooth transition into his new life was probably the ideal situation. That was how things were unfolding until a recent story was released, saying Richards’ off ice partying and drinking habits played a major factor in his being traded away from Philly.
The story stated that Flyers’ head coach, Peter Laviolette, asked his players to participate in “Dry Island”, where players would not drink alcohol for the duration of the month on six occasions. Players would pledge by placing their numbers on a board in the locker room. A board, according to an inside source, that never featured Mike Richards’ number.
This information coming into light just before Richards’ first major press conference with the media and Kings organization since being traded. Probably not the best story to be in the lime light going into a media event for a player that does not like the media too much.
The media at the conference will more than likely fish for any reaction or emotion out of Richards regarding these party animal rumors. Not how Richards and Dean Lombardi would like their first press conference to play out, I’m sure. Whether or not these rumors are true or false, this will damper Richards’ first experience with the Los Angeles media that will be covering him for the next handful of years. For a player that has had a history of bad relationships with the press, starting things off this way would not be ideal.
How Richards handles and answers the press’ questions tomorrow will greatly influence how smooth the rest of his transition into Los Angeles plays out. If he answers the questions professionally things will progress smoothly. If he accuses the media of making stuff up, bloggers and columnists everywhere will blow up. The press conference will determine whether or not Richards will be seen as the newest attendee of the Hollywood party scene, or as the next piece in building a Stanley Cup contender. Hopefully it is the latter.
If Richards is pegged with a negative light this early in his tenure with Los Angeles it may be hard for him to shed that negative appearance. This city loves to write about bad guys. We’ll see who walks out of the conference tomorrow, Mike Richards the hero or Mike Richards the villain.