A Long Overdue Apology to Eric Lindros

Eric Lindros was on my mind yesterday, so much so that I called a co-worker Eric Lindros when speaking about him. In all fairness, his name is similar, he is a hockey player, and the co-worker I was speaking to was trying my patience at the end of the day, but 88 was on my mind.

As I watched the Flyers lose, badly, to the Sabres, I thought perhaps my pre-occupation with Lindros was a foreshadowing of that game. The Flyers looked like they were playing at 33 1/3 RPMs while the Sabres were playing at 45 RPMs. (Note for all you youngsters, this is a reference to vinyl records There used to be these amazing things called record players, and they had different speeds. Playing an album at the speed intended for a single turned any band into Alvin and the Chipmunks, a great way to laugh yourself stupid. Don’t judge, we didn’t have 10,000 cable networks and the internet to amuse ourselves, we had to get creative). That step behind, too slow kind of game is how the Flyers made other teams look while Lindros and The Legion of Doom led the Orange and Black.

Surely that was why I was considering writing on Lindros, again. I have written for other blogs, and have taken pen to paper on the subject of Eric Lindros a few times. I was considering writing on the Great 88, building on the Nolan Patrick story since Lindros’ career was ended prematurely by concussions. I roughed the article out in my head as I watched the Flyers get outshot, outplayed and outscored in a game they should have won easily.

When I woke up this morning, the picture below was in my Memories feed; it was three years ago today that the Philadelphia Flyers welcomed Eric Lindros back to the city that had banished him; trading him to the New York Rangers after a long and bitter feud. That is the end of the Lindros story, and we really do need to start at the beginning.

Lindros was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques as the #1 pick in the 1991 draft, and refused to play for the team. He returned to his junior team and was eventually traded by the Nordiques, to both the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers, starting a bidding war that was eventually settled in the Flyers favor. I welcomed Eric Lindros to the Flyers with open arms, as I do most players that are brought to the team. (Cough, cough Ryan Hartman…no one will ever replace Simmer) Again, I welcome most players to the team, but Lindros was special. He had been touted as the Next One, the heir apparent to Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. The Flyers had FINALLY brought a true star to the team, and I was beside myself. When John LeClair and Mikael Renberg joined Lindros to form the rightly feared and aptly named Legion of Doom line, this was it. This was our time for the Cup.

Sadly, the Flyers were swept in the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, and that was really the beginning of the end for Lindros in Philly. A nasty public feud between his father, who was a poor choice as an agent, and the team soured a good deal of the Philadelphia fans on #88. I defended him, as I will all Flyers; that is what love and loyalty is about. When Lindros himself publicly criticized the team; well, that was when I turned on him. There are things that should be kept out of the public eye, arguments that should remain within the family. You just don’t air you dirty laundry in public that way. The Flyers were always a family, and Lindros went outside the family. 

I turned my back on Lindros before he was traded to the Rangers. I am Sicilian, and a Virgo to boot. Both are known for cutting off anyone that hurts them, and Eric Lindros hurt me by publicly bashing the team I have loved for as long as I can remember. I hated him, with the ferocity I reserve for all Rangers. That hatred is the result of another blood feud, a story for another time.

While I still feel that Lindros should have kept his discontent within the team, time has changed me; being a mom has changed me. Watching as the once magnificent Eric Lindros stumbled and searched for words, his issues with concussions were apparent during his speech three years ago. He was now the one that appeared a step behind. While time slows down everyone, Lindros is far too young for that to have happened naturally. 

There is one thing I hate more than the New York Rangers, and that is hypocrisy. It would be wrong of me to defend Nolan Patrick while I allowed myself to not put things right with Eric Lindros. Apologies, Eric, for not understanding that it was more than your career that concerned you. While I will always feel that the method you chose, bringing that squabble into the press, was the wrong path, I get it now. I am sorry, truly sorry, that I did not support your fight to make the NHL understand the seriousness of concussions and the impact on the future health of the players. I would think you understand how hard it is to acknowledge the mistakes of your youth, as you could not thank Ed Snider or Bobby Clarke in that speech made three years ago today.

As for my feud with the Rangers? Sorry, but that one is not going anywhere. Ever. 

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