Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Big E heads to the OR


And maybe for the last time.

You know, for all the criticism Eric Lindros has had heaped on him throughout his career — unfairly, in my opinion — he's always been a standup guy. No one in hockey is going to say anything bad about Lindros, and that can't be said about every (former) superstar.

So, if this is, in fact, the end of The Big E's career, I'm going to choose to remember him as the big kid from London who won the Hart Trophy at age 22, seemed destined for greatness, and had his body give out on him.

Answer this: How great could Eric have been had injuries never been a factor?

The Lindros family has had its share of health issues, including when Eric's younger brother, Brett, had to retire at age 19 due to concussion problems. Eric's cousin, Randy, was a highly regarded defenceman back in Kamloops when he died suddenly at age 15.

I've been glad to see Eric come back to Ontario, play for the Maple Leafs and receive a warm reception from the fans here. It's too bad it couldn't have worked out any better.

16 Comments:

At 6:35 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Etienne Girardin said...

Nothing bad about Eric Lindros?
Excuse me.

You need to remember what happened when Quebec drafted him. A Quebec hockey guy just declined to play for a team in his own province because he found that it was not interesting enough for him.

His father is one of the worst hockey dad that the NHL has known.

I do not have any pity for the injuries he had and still has... I do not accept that a young hockey player tries to put a LOT of pressure to decide where he will play. He should have been HAPPY to play in NHL, no matter the team.

But no, Mister Lindros was not happy, and I can say a lot of bad about him.

 
At 6:52 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

You need to remember what happened when Quebec drafted him. A Quebec hockey guy just declined to play for a team in his own province because he found that it was not interesting enough for him.

Yeah. God forbid an adult should get to choose who he wants to work for.

 
At 7:13 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Karina said...

I still kinda hope that after this operation, JFJ Jr will be willing to give him at the very least a try-out in training camp. He played so well when Mats was out, I know he loves playing for the Leafs, and 32 is just so young to hang up his skates...

 
At 2:17 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Etienne, I'm glad you commented, because you highlight the common Canadian blither that has been said and written about Lindros the last 14 years. I disagree with all of it.

If you can find someone 'in hockey' who says something negative about Eric, I'd like to see it.

As for what happened all those years ago, Lindros had nothing personal against French Canada (if he did, what on earth was it?), so why they were so outraged at the kid, I haven't a clue.

The Nordiques ended up fleecing the Philadelphia Flyers in the trade for Lindros, acquiring Peter Forsberg and a handful of more established talents that ultimately ended up being far more valuable than Lindros alone. The franchise won the Stanley Cup in Lindros's fourth year with Philadelphia, a team that has yet to win a championship some 14 years after making that deal.

It'd be nice to see the vilification of Eric Lindros end.

 
At 8:26 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger alyosha mcbain said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:36 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger alyosha mcbain said...

James--like it or not, there are many sports fans who view the draft with a certain sense of fatalism...whether you speak of Eric Lindros in hockey or Eli Manning or John Elway in American football, the perception of untested players dictating their landing spot in a professional sports league is that they are manipulative and spoiled, unwilling to take their lumps in certain athletic situations that may not appeal to them.

Quebec may have fleeced the Flyers in the deal for Eric, but the Cups were won in Colorado--so there is undoubtedly a mix of bitterness there. Some people may blame Lindros' unwillingness to play in Quebec as the death blow to the Nordique franchise.

Lindros' unpopularity also has to do with the fact that he was hyped to the skies by the Canadian hockey establishment as the next great Canadian hockey mensch--and as his career trajectory indicates, he fell far short of the tremendous expectations placed upon him. He was a dominant player for about 5 seasons in the NHL, and even during those seasons showed a distressing propensity for getting hurt.

He was a guy whose lack of charisma hurt him. His teammates never seemed all that fond of him either. Nobody on the Flyers ever stood up to Scott Stevens after Stevens put a bloodthirsty hit on Lindros in the NHL semis back in 2000. Flyers who chased after Kasparaitis after he hit Lindros for a concussion does not count...because EVERYONE wants to kill Darius.

For those who support him and his family's choice to determine where he played in the NHL I would say that you are right--most adults do have a fair say in where they end up working to earn their money. But life is unfair, and to make it seem that a very well-compensated individual like Eric Lindros should be loved by everyone is simply unrealistic.

The guy could never handle the spotlight. Just ask the gal he poured beer on at a bar when he was a rookie...some people just do not come off like good people, no matter what they do.

 
At 10:46 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

A Quebec hockey guy just declined to play for a team in his own province because he found that it was not interesting enough for him.

Are you talking about Lindros? He was born in London and played his junior in the OHL. The "O" doesn't stand for Quebec.

I still kinda hope that after this operation, JFJ Jr will be willing to give him at the very least a try-out in training camp.

If he retires, it won't be for lack of job offers.

If you can find someone 'in hockey' who says something negative about Eric, I'd like to see it.

Bobby Clarke. I think Bobby Clarke's a moron and I'm not saying I give his opinion much weight but there it is. Someone in hockey who dislikes the Big E.

Some people may blame Lindros' unwillingness to play in Quebec as the death blow to the Nordique franchise.

Some people are stupid.

Lindros' unpopularity also has to do with the fact that he was hyped to the skies by the Canadian hockey establishment as the next great Canadian hockey mensch--and as his career trajectory indicates, he fell far short of the tremendous expectations placed upon him. He was a dominant player for about 5 seasons in the NHL, and even during those seasons showed a distressing propensity for getting hurt.

I don't understand why you would dislike him for this though-the guy is like a walking Greek tragedy. All the gifts a hockey player needs, size, strength...and he's gets injured about as frequently as Elizabeth Manley would if she played in the NHL. How does this make him a bad guy?

 
At 11:48 AM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His refusal to go to the Nords was only the latest in the Lindros saga. Before then, he, or more to the point his parents, refused to go to the Sault. (I was never so happy as when the Sault knocked Oshawa out of the playoffs, with Eric getting his butt kicked in a fight in the final game.)

I used to get angry at Lindros, but as time rolled on I realized that any anger should be directed towards his parents. Eric had that same dysfunctional personality that you often see afflicting tennis and gymnastic brats. His whole life, he was sheltered, coddled, and told how "special" he was. Expecting him to step up and "be a leader" was ridiculous given how spectacularly unprepared he was for the role courtesy of Bonnie and Carl.

It's sad to see the way his career has gone, as he should have had a Hall of Fame career. Instead, he will forever be known as the biggest underachiever ever. And now his career could be in jeopardy due to "torn wrist ligaments"? Talk about going out with a whimper.

 
At 12:49 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just compare "the biggest underachiever ever" to the newly minted hall of famer, Cam Neely.
Lindros
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php3?pid=3158
Neely
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php3?pid=3930


Being too young to truly know how good either player was in their prime, or how hard they worked for that matter. Judging by their stats and awards I can see that Lindros has had a better career, not to mention that his games played per season is better than Neely's.
So the guy produces a hall of fame career by the age of 32 and people are calling him an underachiever. I'll take an underachieving hall of famer over almost any other player any day.

 
At 1:28 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the guy who called Lindros an underachiever, and I'll stand by it given the almost frightening package of physical gifts he brought to the game. The guy was basically put together in a lab to be a power forward, and given that he should have been more productive than he was.

As for Neely, for as much as I like the guy he is not a Hall of Fame player, in the same way that Clark Gillies and Bernie Federko didn't belong either. It's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of the Pretty Good, and I think it ought to be saved for guys who have special achievements on their hockey CV. That ain't Eric.

 
At 1:40 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger alyosha mcbain said...

Dear Mudcrutch79: It seems to me that you misconstrue what I said in my earlier comment. I never said that I dislike Eric Lindros...I was merely trying to explain why he is so loathed by fans in Canada and the NHL.

I am a Ranger fan and I rooted for him when he was a Ranger. I thought Bobby Clarke smeared him as thoroughly as any player could possibly be smeared by their own GM, and I also believe that Lindros is entitled to all the money he has earned. Most people would have given up long ago if they had an injury history as long and as painful as his injuries have been. Additionally I believe that he should be allowed to sue the Philadelphia Flyers for repeatedly sending him out onto the ice before he had healed from his variety of concussive head injuries.

I thought that Mr. Mirtle's surprise at the vehemence of the depth of negative feelings that swirl around Eric Lindros was a little naive, which is what prompted my post. Lindros' shaky relationships with his various teammates is also a matter of public record.

As for myself, I always enjoyed watching Lindros play--even when he used to regularly devastate the Rangers as a Flyer.

 
At 4:25 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Danny Pugsley said...

As someone in the UK who has only managed to start catching 'live' NHL action over the last six or seven years or so, for me Lindros in his prime at the Flyers was the most dominant, imposing player I have seen - even more so than Forsberg.

It think it is testimony to the talent he had (and has) that when looking at his stats, the majority still look at his career and think of him as an 'underachiever'.

He has suffered through injuries which were no fault of his own, and without these injuries you can only wonder at some of the stats and performances he could have put up.

I agree with mudcrutch79 - if he does retire it won't be through a lack of offers. A player like Lindros will always find a team willing to take a chance on him.

 
At 12:39 AM, March 07, 2006, Anonymous Etienne Girardin said...

NHL Players do not decide where they play when they are drafted. They decide where they play through free agency.

They are not ordinary employees, they enter the league by a drafting process that is accepted by most people.

This person refused to accept it. Or his father did, which is relatively equivalent.

No matter if it's 2 years ago, 8 years ago, 14 years ago.

He decided to cry. He chose... and I choose to blame him for that choice.

Also, like pointed out here, it's noy like he did it only one time.

There are a lot of horror stories about Eric Lindros, contract negociations, etc. It might be linked with his family, but in the end he is the one that chose to have his father help him in negociations.

I do not tell he is a monster or anything, but he is certainly not the hockey player that «nobody can say nothing negative about»...

He is not the only person that was not happy about the team that picked him at the draft. Look at Mario Lemieux for example. He was clearly not happy to be picked up by Pittsburgh, but he decided to play there... and I think it's pretty clear he never regretted it.

As for my mistake regarding his place of birth, it does not change the fact that he refused to play for Quebec. Why did he refuse? Who knows... and who cares now? He can stay in Toronto (if they resign him), no need to come in Montreal...

 
At 1:22 PM, March 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and right on cue, here's Carl in the National Post today popping off about how Eric was allegedly poorly served by the Leafs' medical staff. Yo, Carl, little Eric is 33 years old now -- think it might be time to let him speak for himself? God, if my father was out there fighting my battles as an adult, I would politely but firmly tell him to butt out. Somehow I don't think Eric has ever had that conversation with Mom and Dad.

 
At 2:31 PM, March 07, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

God, if my father was out there fighting my battles as an adult, I would politely but firmly tell him to butt out.

In fairness, Carl represents him as his agent. It's not just his dad but his agent speaking. And the Leafs medical staff is at the centre of a dispute over whether they cleared Owen Nolan too early at the moment so it's not as if they've got a sterling reputation.

NHL Players do not decide where they play when they are drafted. They decide where they play through free agency.

Well those are the restrictions that the Player's Association agreed to. Like anything else though, it all comes down to bargaining position. Most kids coming out of junior don't have the heft to call where they want to play or to gain leverage by threatening to hold out. Lindros did. Lemieux did, when he refused to put on the Pens jersey at the draft. I'm inherently suspicious of any system that says to an 18 year old that if you want to work in this industry, you have to work for us and we'll tell you what city that will be in. I'm outright hostile to such a system when we're talking 15 year olds, so the whole thing with the Soo doesn't matter to me. I can't believe anyone gives a shit that someone's investment in exploiting children might be at risk because a guy refuses to move 800km from home to play for him but Canadians have a peculiar blind spot when it comes to hockey.


There are a lot of horror stories about Eric Lindros, contract negociations, etc. It might be linked with his family, but in the end he is the one that chose to have his father help him in negociations.

What horror stories? Does he make deals and go back on them? Does he hold out when he has a signed contract? The man plays hardball-the Flyers were able to leverage having him into getting a new arena. What entitles Ed Snider to get rich of Eric Lindros' back with Lindros extracting as much as he possibly can? Again, Canadian blind spot.

He was clearly not happy to be picked up by Pittsburgh, but he decided to play there... and I think it's pretty clear he never regretted it.

Yeah, he decided to play there because they caved to his financial demands. It's not like he thought about how he owed it to the game of hockey to go and right the franchise.

You think it's clear that he never regretted it? He got completely fucked out of money he was owed on a contract there because the whole operation was a financial house of cards (much like Les Nordiques), had to take a bankrupt team tied into a terrible arena deal to get any compensation for that money and will now be pilloried if, as seems to be the case, the team ends up moving. Yeah, I'm sure he's got no regrets whatsoever that he wasn't completely free and able to sign with a financially sound club like Montreal or something.

As for my mistake regarding his place of birth, it does not change the fact that he refused to play for Quebec.

No, but you made it out like he spat on his place of birth. Lots of guys don't want to play for my favourite team either (Edmonton) for a variety of reasons-weather, small town, intense media focus...it's no skin off my back. If the Nords still had a team, I'm sure that they'd be selling the European culture of Quebec City to European free agents, for many of whom that would be a boon. Different strokes...it's not like he said "I don't want to go to Quebec because I hate the French."

 
At 2:50 PM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous Etienne Girardin said...

I hope he is not stupid enough to say that he did not want to play for a French canadian team...

Anyway, no matter if the player is happy or not of the team that picked him up, that's the way it works and that's it. It does not matter what the player wants, that's the way both sides, owners and players, decided...

At least, for players in next drafts, about 7-8 years of nhl experience will be necessary to be a UFA, which is less than the 14 years necessary before (from 18 to 32).

Players have the right not to sign to Montreal, Quebec, Edmonton or any other city if they want. But if they are drafted, I do not accept that they cry like babies, sorry.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link


.

Free Page Rank Checker
eXTReMe Tracker