Yesterday, Eric Lindros entered the Hockey Hall of Fame. While Lindros didn’t live up to the hype, no one ever could, he was without a doubt one of the most dominant hockey players of my lifetime for a stretch of seven good years.
I remember where I was when I heard the news of Larry Bertuzzi’s decision to uphold the trade between the Flyers and the Nordiques sending Lindros to Philly. I was home from college in my car driving to a friend’s house. The news came over WIP radio. I rolled down my window and screamed with excitement. This was the sun breaking through the clouds after the Flyers missed the playoffs for, I think, the third straight year.
Every shift of Eric Lindros’ eight years in Philly was must-watch television. You never knew if you were going to see a bone-jarring hit, a brutal fight, a wicked wrist shot or a soft, precise pass for a one-timer. No one had ever or has ever combined such size, speed, and power with finesse. Lindros did it all.
How good of a center was Lindros? While John LeClair and Mikael Renberg were nice complimentary players, they were never really anything without Lindros. In five full years with Lindros, LeClair never scored less than 77 points. He had two years of 97 points. Without Lindros, LeClair never topped 55 points. He was basically a solid 20-goal scorer. Renberg never sniffed 20 goals without playing alongside Eric Lindros. If you’re a Lindros hater and don’t think he belongs in the Hall, check out the stats of Cam Neely and Pavel Bure, just to name a couple.
To put Lindros’ impact into perspective, he had one year with a +/- rating under +14. To date, Claude Giroux has had one with a +/- rating over 10. Giroux has had 5 seasons with a negative =/- rating. Lindros never had a negative year as a Flyer. This isn’t a slight on Giroux. This is to point out how dominant Lindros and his Legion line was.
In 50 playoff games as a Philadelphia Flyer, Eric Lindros had 57 points with 4 game-winning goals.
Who can forget, during his MVP speech, that Lindros stayed past the musical cue to leave the stage and began crying as he thanked the Philadelphia fans for being supportive when the team “wasn’t that good.”
Last night Lindros got his much-deserved closure on his tumultuous NHL career. It’s a shame that the some in the Philadelphia and the Flyers organization ignored the seriousness of concussions at the time and just considered Lindros soft. It’s about time all of that bullshit drama is left in the past and he has received the recognition he deserved.
He was a class act last night during his HoF induction speech thanking the no-name coaches that believed in him as well as the Flyers and his teammates on the Legion of Doom line. Eric also brought his brother up on stage at the end so that he could put an end to his NHL career with Brett by his side, who also had a shortened career due to concussions.
Check out the speech here.
And, here’s a good mix of Lindros highlights.
And if you still have time, why not watch a video from one of Lindros’ favorite bands: