Los Angeles Hockey: Flyers

Kings: Mike Richards ready to leave the island behind

July, 27, 2011
Mike RichardsNoah Graham/NHLI/Getty ImagesMike Richards, standing with Kings GM Dean Lombardi, says he's impressed by the depth of the Kings' roster

EL SEGUNDO — Still without an explanation for what prompted the Philadelphia Flyers to trade him to the Kings a month ago, and still wondering how allegations of excessive partying could leak from his former locker room, Mike Richards made his debut with the Los Angeles media Wednesday at the Toyota Sports Center.

Richards, a two-time 30-goal scorer who came to L.A. in a deal for rugged right wing Wayne Simmonds, highly touted center Brayden Schenn and a future draft pick, stayed around to answer every question tossed his way, from first impressions since joining the organization to his thoughts on the stunning trade and whether there was any truth to reports that his after hours might have fueled his departure.

Two days earlier, a gossip columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News cited unidentified sources who claimed Richards, the team captain, got on the wrong side of Flyers coach Peter Laviolette because he opted against participating in a month-long pledge of sobriety, an event known in the locker room as Dry Island.

It wasn’t the first time Richards came into the cross hairs of the Philadelphia media after they reported on the Flyers' exuberant nightlife. Two seasons ago, Richards refused to speak with local journalists after reports surfaced that Joffrey Lupul was traded to the Ducks for Chris Pronger to break up some of the off-the-ice behavior by a group of Flyers that included Richards.

Richards, 26, did not deny the latest reports, but rather questioned their importance.

“Philadelphia tends to blow things up a little more than they actually are,” he said. “[Dry Island] just started out as more of a friendly, fun thing that you can joke about in the dressing room.”

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