Flyers' partying ways not new story

You can tell the dog days of summer are upon us when everything old is breathlessly new again.

Jaromir Jagr is back in the NHL.

Alexei Yashin perhaps is not far behind.

And the Philadelphia Flyers have a partying problem.

This just in, goaltending will be an issue in Philly this season as well.

The partying issue, something that has dogged the team for two or three seasons now, became a talking point this week when Philadelphia Daily News reporter Dan Gross got GM Paul Holmgren to comment on the record that when newly hired coach Peter Laviolette tried to change the dressing room culture by implementing a period of abstinence from alcohol during the 2009-10 season, some players didn't participate.

Holmgren noted to Gross that Jeff Carter and former captain Mike Richards didn't put their numbers up on the board identifying themselves as members of what was reportedly known as Dry Island and that there were other players who didn't sign up, either.

The news has been treated as some sort of bombshell as opposed to merely reinforcing what Holmgren has publicly acknowledged for some time: The team's off-ice behavior was cause for concern for the coaching staff and management.

Before the start of the 2009-10 season, Holmgren acknowledged that his players' lifestyle choices were an issue he and then-coach John Steven had addressed.

"I think this all falls under the umbrella of discipline," Holmgren told local beat writer Wayne Fish in an interview before the season.

"It's on-ice discipline -- not overstaying-your-shift discipline -- it's off-ice discipline, it's night before a game taking better care of ourselves. That's a natural maturation process that a lot of our younger players are still going through. We've addressed that. So am I concerned about it? We'll see how it goes this year. All our players have been talked to about it. Is it an issue? The fact that we've talked about it, I guess it is an issue."

So, did the Flyers GM trade two of his top six forwards because they sometimes ended up in pictures on the Internet partying with adult film stars (as was the case in 2009) or crashing fraternity parties in town?

While it's not uncommon for teams to move players because it's believed they don't have the right focus or priorities (hmm, girls or goals?), Holmgren has established himself as one of the most daring NHL GMs.

That means he doesn't move critical pieces to his puzzle unless he feels the team will be made better as a result.

It's worth noting that almost all of the stuff percolating in recent days dates back to before the Flyers' stunning march to the 2010 Stanley Cup finals.

That playoff run included a historic come-from-behind effort against Boston in the second round, in which the Flyers had fallen behind 3-0 in the series then trailed 3-0 in Game 7.

As defenseman Chris Pronger noted in a conference call shortly after Richards was dealt to Los Angeles and Carter to Columbus last month, people weren't too concerned about the team's chemistry then.

It's a fair point.

Common sense suggests that the whole "party on" issue was but a small factor in Holmgren's decision to substantively change the fabric of his team.

Our guess is Carter's inability to deliver in the playoffs, questions about his durability and his less-than-sunny disposition were bigger issues.

As for Richards, when your captain appears to be ill at ease in his role, you have depth down the middle and you can get one of the top young prospects in the game in Brayden Schenn in return, you roll the dice.

Maybe the trades come back to haunt Holmgren. Maybe they hit the tumblers that will open the Stanley Cup vault in Philadelphia for the first time since 1975.

Either way, don't expect this to be the last we hear of party central.

And oh yeah, this just in, the Flyers will not put in an offer sheet for Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos.