While the mainstream media has already begun to drag Mike Richards and Jeff Carter back into the Flyers conversation this offseason -- the assertion at Paul Holmgren's press conference Thursday that they were bad in the locker room, the lede in this story from the Associated Press -- the Los Angeles Times wrote a story yesterday about Richards' role in helping the Kings to the Western Conference Final.
It was a pretty benign piece: Nobody expected Richards and Carter to be here playing for a spot in the Final together, the Flyers are out and the Kings are still in, Richards watched the New Jersey series, etc. The interesting part, though? Columnist Lisa Dillman absolutely left the door open for Richards to crack a joke about the Flyers -- or, as the AP put it, "share a chuckle" at the Flyers demise this season.
Did he? Nope.
"I have a lot of friends there," he said. "You always wish your friends the best. You never want to go against a team, especially when you have a lot of friends on there and a city that's given me a lot. So you always hope the best for them.
"We still have a long ways before we can get there. But it would be a little bit awkward if we had to go back there and play the first year back. It would have been a little bit weird."
We're constantly sold the idea that this break-up was for a million different reasons. That Richards and Carter were drunks, that they were cancers in the Flyers dressing room, that their attitudes were holding the team back. Yet not one person on either side of this divorce has ever said anything negative about the other. Like, ever.
In fact, there were just a lot of broken hearts. Paul Holmgren almost cried when making the announcement last June. Richards was notably upset as well, something touched on in the LA Times story. Carter didn't even report to the Blue Jackets immediately after his trade.
Someday, this will all just go away. Not today.