Philly’s Dry Island, Andy Murray’s new gig and Bettman’s pay

With things relatively quiet in Habs Nation, here are some of the more interesting stories circulating around the hockey world.

A Philadelphia Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross (who is not one of their sports writers) had an item Monday that two Flyers believe the reason GM Paul Holmgren traded Jeff Carter and P.K. Subban’s best friend Mike Richards was that the pair because they partied too hard. “The two unnamed players said that the Flyers front office was disappointed in Carter and Richards’ longstanding party lifestyle and that teammates were concerned about the pair’s drinking,” Gross wrote.

He went on to say Flyers coach Peter Lavoilette instituted a “Dry Island” policy in which he asked players to not drink for a month and each player was asked to write his number on a locker room board as a pledge. The numbers 17 and 18 never appeared in any of the roughly half-dozen times Laviolette declared “Dry Island” month.

Asked to comment, GM Paul Holmgren confirmed to Gross the two never volunteered for “Dry Island”, but added they were not along. “We carry 23 players and there wasn’t 23 numbers up there,” Holmgren said.

Holmgren was “really upset that this is out there. That’s our locker room. Our inner sanctum. Our board. Someone’s crossing a line here,” in discussing the Dry Island. Holmgren said it was “preposterous” that partying factored into the decision to trade Richards and Carter, saying these were “two good hockey trades that will better suit us now and for the future. Columbus is happy, L.A. is happy and the Flyers are happy with the deal.”

Carter’s agent Rick Curran called the charges “bull—-” and slammed the unnamed players for not “having the balls to come out publicly” and stand behind their claim that partying was the reason the pair was traded, adding their anonymity undermined the credibility of the accusation.

Since we all know hockey players only drink Gatorade, the official sports drink of the NHL, none of this can possibly be true.

NEW GIG: Andy Murray, former coach of the Kings and Blues who worked in the Canadiens hockey department for a few months in 2006 before getting hired in St. Louis, will formally be hired Tuesday as the new head coach of Western Michigan University, replacing Jeff Blashill, who unexpectedly left to take an assistant’s job under Mike Babcock with the Red Wings.

Murray’s 10 year NHL coaching record is He compiled a career record of 333-278-58-71 and he worked part of the 2006-07 season for the Habs after he was dismissed following seven years coaching the Kings, and his work for the Habs was widely praised and credited as a factor in the team’s 24-9-5 start under new coach Guy Carbonneau. Murray is known as one of the best prepared coaches in hockey, going so far as to slip written copies of the game plan under the hotel doors of the players the night before road games.

“I was so fortunate, so incredibly lucky, to be able to work in the Montreal Canadiens organization for two or three months, and for someone like Bob Gainey,” Murray told George Johnson of in 2007. “I was a Habs fan growing up, so it was, in all honesty, an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

“I still have my business card — Andy Murray, Montreal Canadiens, Consultant — and I’ll keep it forever. I guess some people might laugh at that. ‘You’ve been a head coach in the league for a long time’ and whatnot. But the organization in Montreal is so solid, so steeped in history and tradition, it was a thrill to be a part of it, however briefly.”

BIG BUCKS: According to the Sports Business Journal, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s salary has doubled from $3.7 million to the $7.5 million (all figures US dollars), according to tax filings SJB obtained. Bettman’s base salary for 2009-10 was $5,787,524. He received $826,369 in other compensation, $877,597 in deferred compensation and $25,988 in benefits.

That’s still less than MLB’s commissioner Bud Selig ($18.35 million), NFL boss Roger Goodell ($10.9 million) and what NBA commissioner David Stern is believed to make (estimated at more than $10 million).

Paul Hunter of The Toronto Star
notes that his pay rate means Bettman makes more than all but 17 NHL players, including Scott Gomez and everyone else on the Canadiens.

“Bettman would likely have a better year than Gomez; he’d certainly be feistier,” Hunter wrote.

In fact, Hunter was wrong about their relative salaries; Bettman’s salary was listed for 2009-10 when Gomez’s was $8 million. Only his cap hit was lower ($7,357,143). There is, apparently, no salary cap on NHL commissioners.


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  3. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Anyone else hate the term “Hab Nation” or Whatever Nation? It’s so, I dunno, Leafish. Where can this mythical place be found? The NHL plays in two countries and neither is Hab nation. In fact, if there is a “Hab Nation”, isn’t it Quebec? And I don’t care what the politicians say to suck up to and calm them down, Quebec is NOT A NATION! Can we just drop the term now?

    Go Habs.

    • canuckbot says:

      Agree 100%. There are a few “Hab(s) Nation” handles out there on Twitter etc. but it looks like no websites. Hopefully it will stay that way. It sounds very New World Order and if you listen to fans of a “Nation”, you can hear the recycled jargon. Every team has these types of followers but these “Nations” sound more like dictatorships! “We-eth are-est thou greatest foe and ye shall all tremble whence we-eth take-eth thine ice”

    • flowerpower_74 says:

      I do not hate the term actually. I am a Canadiens and Steelers fan. For clarification, I’ll explain it to you. I believe that the term comes from the Steelers organization.
      Thier belief is that there is a Steeler Nation in the world, which is to say that everywhere they play, there are fans of the team. They don’t need fans from Pittsburgh to travel with the Team since they have thousands of fans in every city. Same with the Habs, we do not need to haul our fans with us since there are millions of fans around the world and in every hockey city. It’s just a term that groups all our fans together around the world.

      BTW I do think it does sound a little too Leafish though….
      Team Defence wins Championships…

    • Viruk42 says:

      Why would “Hab Nation” automatically equate to Quebec? Are you telling me my family are not a part of Habs nation, being in Ottawa?

      Anyways, definition of Nation:
      -a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own: “The president spoke to the nation about the new tax.”

      The Quebecois are a large body of people, associated with living in Quebec, and they are conscious of their unity. They form a nation, just as the aboriginals/First Nations/Inuit/indigenous/etc form a nation.
      Quebec is not a country (and hopefully never will be, as I like the way Canada is now), but it is a nation.

    • Duracell3 says:



    • 100HABS says:

      Agree 100% – I’ve mentioned it before. I absolutely refuse to copy something leafish, let alone that the whole “nation” things sounds incredibly puerile to me.

      Down with the term!

  4. LOL@ ” was that the pair because they parties too hard. ”

    Who edits the editor?

    “When I was a baby I wish my first word had been “QUOTE”, then right before I die I could say “UNQUOTE” – Stephen Wright

  5. Un Canadien errant says:

    It’s enlightening that a tool like Mike Richards who can’t take care of his own business and keep his own teammates onside was able to tar PK Subban with his comments. Sure Mike, you have Dan Carcillo on your team but PK’s the one who’s not showing respect. Looking forward to reading about your rehab in Tinseltown.

    For my training camp surprise, I want the second coming of Mike McPhee. And maybe Kent Carlson.

    • SyntaxLove says:

      Richard’s qualm, in my opinion, wasn’t that Subban was being disrespectful, just that he was too young to have “earned” the right; you know, chain of command type stuff.


      • Bill J says:

        I’m glad Richards will only face the Habs once per year now. Pathetic player who chose to “drama” stuff up about PK to make himself seem better or more important.

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