Eric Lindros

Eric Lindros recorded 865 points in his 760-game NHL career with the Flyers, Rangers, Maple Leafs and Stars

Eric Lindros does not, under any circumstance, belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Oh, he had a ton of talent. A truckload of physical strength and ability. And about a shot glass worth of smarts, intelligence and common sense. He provided a small handful of exciting moments to fans of the game. But he never, ever did anything of any magnitude that earned him even the briefest consideration for the Hall. And I’ll be staggered if the 18-man selection committee puts him in the Hall on Tuesday.

Eric Lindros

Towering over his teammates, Lindros recorded 216 points in just 95 games with the OHL's Oshawa Generals

The very first time I saw Eric Lindros play in person was in December 1990, in his rookie season with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. In that game, at Oshawa’s Civic Auditorium, Lindros collided in open ice with Peterborough Petes’ forward Mike Ricci. Ricci looked like he’d been hit by a semi. Lindros simply kept skating. Lindros was a physical man playing with boys. That season, Lindros’ Gens won the Memorial Cup. But, at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Eric Lindros’ persona went way off the rails.

The Québec Nordiques chose Lindros first overall – and he made it clear that he would not be going to play in Quebec. Wait, let me modify that, for whatever reason the Lindros family made it clear that their little meal ticket would not be moving to La Belle Province. They had pulled the same crap in the past, when Eric was drafted into the OHL by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The Hounds were forced to trade Lindros to Oshawa. And that tells you all you need to know about Eric Lindros right there. The 18-year old’s family wanted him to play where they wanted him to play. Because 1992 was an Olympic year, Eric skated with the Canadian National Team. With 11 points in 8 games, Lindros led Canada to an Olympic silver medal in Albertville, France.

The Gong Show continued at the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, as Les Nordiques apparently traded Lindros to both the Flyers and Rangers. An arbitrator later ruled he belonged to Philadelphia. And it was suddenly time for the curtain to go up on the “Eric Lindros Era” in the NHL. Except it never did. Ever.

He scored some points in Philadelphia. He dominated some games. With 70 points in 46 games of the labour-dispute shortened 1994-95 season, he won a by-default Hart Trophy. In 1997, Lindros’ Flyers made his one and only trip to the Stanley Cup Final – where they got blasted by the Detroit Red Wings. And then, after just five NHL seasons, his pro career started an incredibly fast downhill slide. Injuries, and the fact that Philadelphia Flyers’ GM Bobby Clarke had seen enough of the off-ice Lindros’ family circus, turned things sour fast.

Eric Lindros

Eric Lindros suffers yet another injury in his NHL career (Photo by Jerry Lodriguss / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Clarke questioned Lindros’ toughness. Eric’s concussions, it seemed, became routine news items. Eventually, in Philly, the captain’s “C” was ripped right off his chest by Clarke. In the last game of his Flyers’ career, Lindros was knocked senseless by Scott Stevens – and the replay is shown every time there is a media panel on concussions.

Clarke traded Lindros to the Rangers – even though Lindros wanted to go to Toronto. Eric bounced around the NHL for another six years, doing nothing but getting injured.

So I simply cannot fathom why Lindros’ HHOF induction is even being debated. One Memorial Cup, 0 Stanley Cups, one highly suspect Hart Trophy. Countless injuries and a ridiculous number of off-ice dramas and incidents.

Eric Lindros didn’t play like a Hall-of-Famer. And he sure as hell never, ever acted like one. Hey, Eric, if you want into the Hall…buy a ticket.

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8 Responses to “Eric Lindros does not belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame”

  1. Blosby says:

    He sounds like a whiny baby to me.
    Once it’s been established you have talent, looks to me like you can push the NHL around however you want.
    I agree with you, Big Mouth, behavior like that does NOT deserve to be in the HHOF.

  2. Shifty says:

    Well, BM, I think you’re conflating and confusing many points in this muddle. Some valid, some not. it’s like one of those pork barrel bills in the US, where they try to sneak in unrelated issues to popular idea.

    Sure it’s easy to pile on an unpopular guy like Eric, but lets try to separate the issues. First, as Dennis Leary might say, “I got two words for you…John f**kin’ Elway!” And I mention both those guys for a reason, but I’ll get to Leary later.

    In 1983, Elway, was a standout QB at Stanford (who never led them to a bowl win) and a consensus #1 pick. The Colts wanted him , but he said he’d never play for them, they traded him to Denver and so started the perceived feeling of entitlement amongst first overall picks. The NFL draft is never a surprise as teams won’t pick a guy unless they can work out a deal prior to the pick.

    Whiny and uncanadian…maybe. An advancement in workers rights…debateable. I just think it’s a very capitalistic, wise business decision. The NHL has the most restrictive player movement laws of any pro league. Lindros had the upper hand in the negotiations and chose to use it to dictate the terms of where he wanted to play. Really a choice we’d all like to have. Taylor Hall could choose not to go to Edmonton. He could go back to junior, sit out, remain unsigned and go back into the draft. It’s his choice. Edmonton could be equally obstinate and draft him anyway and delay his entry to the league, or, they could just take Seguin and be done with it. Lindros was always playing within the rules, just using his prodigious talent as a marketable asset.

    Elway was always perceived as an underachieving, whiny, prick who never won anything…until he did. HOF comes calling.

    But then, other Halls have established some difficult entry standards. Unlike the NHL’s.

    Which brings me back to Leary, or rather, Leary’s good buddy, fan favourite, all canadian boy and one of Don Cherry’s all time Bruins…Cam Neely.

    Power forward – check, oft injured – check, never won anything – check, worse stats than Eric – check, in the Hall – check.

    I know, but we reaallllly like Cam. Not so much, Eric.

    In fact he has way better stats than that other prototypical power forward, Clark Gillies. But at least Gillies stamped his name on the cup a few times.

    Hell, even Bobby Clarke thinks Eric should be in the HOF, and he disliked him more than anyone.

    So, points to be separated and discussed:

    - Does someone have to be likeable to gain HOF entry? (no)
    - Is entry to the HOF to easy? (yes) Can you change it now? (don’t think so)
    - Should players who have extraordinary ability, use it to leverage their position and work the system? (Why the f**k not!)

  3. The Big Mouth says:

    Elway example makes good sense – except for two points. Eric did it TWICE, and the way Eric and his posse did it was arrogant and entitled. If Eric did not want to play in Quebec, he should have gracefully had a private meeting with Les Nordiques and gently asked them if there was some way they could make a deal. Privately! Instead, his fat-headed folks never, ever shut up about it. See the difference? Ya, me too.

    If people “liked” Pete Rose, he’d be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame right now – despite everything he did. But Pete continued to lie about his betting for a decade after his ban. Not smart. Halls of Fame ARE popularity contests, even if life is not.

    You are right about Cam Neely. Should not be in the HHOF. The other name you missed in the HHOF who is a head-shaker is Bernie Federko. In fact, the Hockey Hall of Fame is the only one of the big four whose enshrinement requirements are openly questionable.

    And that last sentence alone probably means Eric has a shot. Ridiculous.

  4. Joey says:

    Most physically dominant player to ever play the game. Top 20 points per game for career all time. The guy was a beast, and an unmatched package of talent (not as skilled as some guys, but no one has ever matched the physical aspect with the talent the way he has). He deserves to go in.

  5. cody says:

    You clearly don’t know much about concussions; once you get one, your highly succeptible to more.You can’t help injuries, he didn’t go out in games doing stupid things to take a hit. He’s also a human being, meaning he has freewill, and can play where he wants. Lindros well deserves his position in the hall of fame.

  6. Roberto says:

    To me its no question he is a HALL OF FAMER. 1st vote…IN! You go on about he doesn’t deserve but keep mentioning amazing stat after amazing stat. Even in his last few years he was still productive. Check out these Hall of Fame Stats:
    -4th fastest player in NHL history to score 300 points (210 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (159), Mario Lemieux (186) & Peter Stastny (186)

    -4th fastest player in NHL history to score 400 points (277 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (197), Mario Lemieux (240) & Peter Stastny (247)

    -5th fastest player in NHL history to score 500 points (352 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (234), Mario Lemieux (287) & Peter Stastny (322) & Mike Bossy (349)

    -6th fastest player in NHL history to score 600 points (429 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (273), Mario Lemieux (323) & Peter Stastny (394), Mike Bossy (400) & Jari Kurri (419)

    ENOUGH SAID!!

  7. Edward says:

    Whether or not he gets into the Hall of Fame should be determined solely by what he did on the ice in the NHL.

    His refusal to go to the Soo and to Quebec City has nothing whatsoever to do with his Hall of Fame worthiness.

    I’m not sure whether or not he should be in the Hall, but I’m absolutely certain what the decision should be based on.

  8. Cricket says:

    The people who always hated him, say he doesn’t belong…He was like no other…A baby yes, but he was an animal on the ice…Most of todays dominate players are brats. Crosby and Lebron are complete bitches, who cry to get calls. Eric’s style was his downfall, his game changed when he left Philadelphia…He couldn’t even drive with his window down…His PPG average while when he left the Flyers has him in the top 5 of all time, ( I think 3rd to be exact). He should have been a first ballot…No question. Cup aside, be out played every inductee since he was eligible…A short career yes, but so was Bure’s.

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