An imperfect but valuable indication of how a player was received from the place he was traded is the reaction of his teammates and/or coaches.

Kind and professional statements say one thing.

Clichés and luke warm comments say another.

Shock says the most.


Flyers coach Peter Laviolette had mixed emotions after one of the most stunning days in the franchise’s history.

Ditto star center Danny Briere.

On one hand, both were excited about the young talent and draft picks the Flyers had acquired Thursday – and the cap space they gained to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov – by dealing Mike Richards to Los Angeles and his best friend, Jeff Carter, to Columbus.

On the other hand . . .

“It’s tough to talk about the players going and the players coming at the same time,” Laviolette said from Minneapolis, site of Friday’s first round of the NHL draft. “We got younger and bigger, and we’re adding a goaltender and depth. But the emotions are tough when you’re talking about [trading] two players who went to battle for you and went to the Cup Finals with you. That makes it a difficult day.

“When you talk about Mike and Jeff, you’re talking about the face of the organization the last few years, certainly with the forwards,” he added.

Briere, in a phone conversation from Quebec, said he was floored by the developments.

“I’m shocked. I never saw it coming,” he said. “There were rumors, and I knew something might happen, but to see both go, I’m shocked.”

Briere paused.

“It’s never fun to see teammates go, but that’s the business side of it.”

Let’s not read too much into it but if these two players (Carter and Richards) were the unsustainable cancers some claim them to be, I think the reaction would have been different from the head coach and Briere.

I have read a lot about Mike Richards’ trade. What I get from the horse’s mouth (the words spoken by Holmgren and others) is that they had to do this deal if they wanted Ilya Bryzgalov signed and wanted any cap flexibility whatsoever. In the end, it looks from both sides to be a good hockey trade, and one good for both teams.