Thursday, June 30, 2011
Posted: 4:23 p.m.
By Sarah Baicker
During the six years he was with the Flyers, Jeff Carter was never known as a wordsmith. When he spoke with the media, he was typically brief and almost always quiet.
But even so, when Carter practically went missing for four days after learning hed been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, it came as a surprise. In fact, the Jackets brass even felt the need to get proactive the teams GM, coach and star player flew to Sea Isle City, N.J., on Monday to meet with Carter at his summer home.
A week removed from the blockbuster deal that sent him to the Jackets and the one that shipped his teammate and best friend Mike Richards to L.A. Carter said hes finally digested the trade and is beginning to look forward to his new future.
It was obviously a tough situation for me, something that I had never gone through in my whole hockey career, in junior or anything, Carter said. But I understand the game, I know that its part of the game, and things had to be done for the Flyers to do what they needed to do there. Ive thought about it, Ive come to grips with it, and Im excited to come to Columbus and have a fresh start. I have a new opportunity there.
Carter lived in downtown Philadelphia, in the Old City neighborhood, and was a part of the Flyers Old City Gang that received a fair deal of criticism over its very public nightlife. Many point to the way the press covered his and Richards personal lives as the beginning of the sometimes combative relationship between them and the media.
But on Thursday, speaking with the Philly press from Sea Isle, Carter had only fondness for his time spent here and the people he got to know.
I love Philadelphia, he said. I dont think thats any secret. Ive been with the organization for going on nine years, played with them for six, and absolutely loved my time here. Coming out to the fans every game is a huge pickup for the team, and I cant say enough about how theyve been so helpful to us over the years and to myself personally.
I met so many great people in my time in Philly away from the game. Ive made a lot of friends around the city. My teammates, I cant say enough about them. Thats one thing the Flyers do, they bring in good people. Ive made a lot of lifelong friends that Ive played with. With the organization, its the same as the players they bring in. They have first-class people, through the trainers to the front office, everybody. Its just an unbelievable environment to be in.
Carter said he spoke with general manager Paul Holmgren on the day of the trade but that he hasnt talked to any Flyers management since then. He has talked to Richards, however, whom he said also had difficulty processing the teams moves.
I called him after I talked to Holmgren and told him Id been traded, and he said yeah, its kind of weird, I just got a call from my agent asking if Id go to L.A., Carter said. When I had talked to him, he was still in a little bit of a shock, too. We didnt really talk much because he had to make a few calls then. But I think he was obviously really disappointed, as well. He hadnt heard any rumors about him being moved, so it was quite a shock to him, but it was definitely a tough time for both of us.
Carter has done a lot of thinking over the past week, certainly, but claims none of it has been about what his former team is hoping to accomplish with its new look, saying only Ive kind of focused on what the Blue Jackets are doing.
As for the summer home at which hes notoriously spent so much of his time, Carter hasnt yet decided whether hell hang onto it.
Ive been a little busy the past few days trying to figure things out with Columbus and whatnot, he said. But thats something that Ill put time into. I obviously love being down here, I have a lot of great friends down here, and my friends and family back home love coming down here, so its definitely an option.
E-mail Sarah Baicker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @SBaickerCSN.