Lindros' story is unfulfilled
Friday, September 2, 2005
Lindros was 1995 NHL MVP
By Bob Carter
Special to ESPN.com
May 20, 1997 - The Flyers needed a boost to take command of the Eastern Conference finals, and Eric Lindros provided it in Game 3 in Madison Square Garden. Lindros scored his first playoff hat trick to lift Philadelphia to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers and a 2-1 series lead.
The big captain popped in the game's first goal with 7:33 gone, slowed the Rangers' momentum with a tie-breaking goal at 6:35 of the third period and punctuated the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute.
"Eric is more consistent now than he has been in the past," Flyers goalie Ron Hextall said. "That's the maturity thing."
On the final goal, the 24-year-old center overtook Mark Messier, his childhood idol, for a loose puck, bumped him out of the way and raced past him to score. "When he comes out of his end zone with speed like that," Messier said, "it takes a team of horses to stop him."
Odds 'n' EndsIn third grade, Lindros did a science project on how to make a hockey rink. He used tinfoil covered with plastic wrap for the ice and toothpicks for the nets.
His favorite band as a youngster was AC/DC.
Eric's brother Brett played 51 games in the NHL for the New York Islanders before retiring at age 20 in 1996 after suffering two concussions.
Carl Lindros, his father, said travel time wasn't the only factor in rejecting Sault Ste. Marie after the Ontario Hockey League team drafted Eric. He said two-thirds of the OHL teams would have been turned down. The family's priorities: a town that had a university, a location within two hours of their Toronto home and a team that emphasized education. Sault Ste. Marie was an eight-hour drive from Toronto.
Lindros has long been known for his intelligence, speaking his mind and disliking phoniness. His mother Bonnie said his I.Q. was 134.
After saying he wouldn't play for the Quebec Nordiques following the 1991 NHL draft, Lindros was booed by fans at Team Canada exhibition games in Ottawa and Montreal. Wearing uniform No. 88, he scored the first goal in Canada's first-round Cup win over the U.S. at Hamilton, Ont., turning boos to cheers.
Before starting his NHL career, he played for the Canadian team that won a silver medal at the 1992 Olympics.
The six players the Nordiques received in the 1992 Lindros trade were Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman and Chris Simon.
The Nordiques also made a Lindros deal with the Rangers the same day they traded him to Philadelphia. An arbitrator ruled in favor of the Flyers.
Lindros' acquisition paved the way for the Flyers to sell out the suites at their new arena.
Lindros was chosen for the NHL's all-rookie team for 1992-93.
He played in his first All-Star Game in 1994. There was no All-Star Game the next year because of the strike. Lindros then played in five more All-Star Games (1996-2000) as a Flyer.
After Philadelphia started the 1999-2000 season 0-5-1, Lindros apologized to his teammates, taking the blame. The Flyers then went on a 17-4-3 tear.
In March 2000, the Flyers stripped Lindros of his captaincy.
Lindros averaged 61 regular-season games in his eight seasons with the Flyers, missing 140 of 486 contests. He was sidelined with knee, shoulder, groin and back injuries, a collapsed lung and six concussions.
Concussion No. 1: March 7, 1998 - hit by Pittsburgh's Darius Kasparaitis and missed 18 games.
Concussion No. 2: Dec. 29, 1998 - hurt twice on one shift in Calgary and missed two games.
Concussion No. 3: Jan. 14, 2000 - slammed by Atlanta's Chris Tamer and missed four games.
Concussion No. 4: March 4, 2000 - a hit on Boston's Hal Gill left him dazed but he played four more games before entering the hospital and missing the rest of the regular season.
Concussion No. 5: May 4, 2000 - practicing with the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms in his recovery, he collided with Francis Lessard and suffered a setback.
Concussion No. 6: May 27, 2000 - New Jersey's Scott Stevens leveled him in Game 6 of the conference finals.
After the sixth concussion, Flyers teammate Mark Recchi asked: "Is the love of the game worth going out there and risking the rest of your life? Obviously, it's not."
Six months after that concussion and in the midst of his standoff with Flyers management, Lindros was cleared to play by neurologist James Kelly of Chicago. "Some say I could be done with one more big hit," Lindros said. "But I don't look at it that way."
With the Rangers, Lindros suffered a seventh concussion on Dec. 21, 2001
after colliding with San Jose's Mark Smith. He missed four games.
His eighth concussion came on Jan. 28, 2004 when he was checked by the Capitals' Jason Doig. Lindros also suffered a shoulder injury and missed the rest of the season.
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