Mike Richards is already looking ahead to a new future with the Los Angeles Kings, but the young centre was firing back at the past on Tuesday at a story that said he and former teammate Jeff Carter were traded out from the Philadelphia Flyers because of excessive partying.
A report written in the Philadelphia Daily News by gossip columnist Dan Gross said that in December 2009, new head coach Peter Laviolette asked his players to commit to not drinking for a month and each player was to write his number on a locker room board as a pledge. According to two unnamed players, Richards' No. 18 and Carter's No. 17 were not on the board for the 'Dry Island' experiment and did not take part in it in future attempts.
"I believe what happens in the dressing room should stay in the dressing room," Richards told TSN's That's Hockey on Tuesday. "It was just something that happened for a handful of guys, just more of a playful thing that half the team took part in and the other half didn't.
"It wasn't a big deal...It was just a joke around the locker room and obviously leaked out and someone's trying to make a mountain out of it."
The report added that the two unnamed players said the Flyers' front office was disappointed in the pair's partying and that teammates were 'concerned.'
"It couldn't be further from the truth," Richards told TSN. "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."
In one of the biggest shake-ups in team history, the Flyers traded Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets on June 23 for forward Jakub Voracek and draft picks and sent Richards to the Kings for forwards Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.
"It was a big shock," said the 26-year-old. "I found out about it an hour before it happened and then I called my agent and it just snowballed from there - with Jeff being traded and myself right after. It was a hectic day, but I'm looking forward to starting in L.A...I'm excited to get this next step going."