Alas, Big E! Wilst thou ever get the respect you deserve?!
Eric Lindros was one of the most talented, ass-kickingest Flyers of all time. Sadly, it looks like his path into the Hall of Fame might be permanently detoured. The mid-90s were the last truly rich time for NHL talent, and the field will just get richer next year with Scott Niedermayer, Rob Blake, Chris Chelios, and Paul Kariya added on.
Let us also not forget than Brendan Shanahan and his 1,354 points inexplicably failed to move the enshrinement committee this time around.
And so, the hulking man-child from Oshawa, Ontario may have missed the boat. One of the most talented players of his era, whose size and skill defined that era, whose career was tragically cut short due to concussions, probably won’t see his face at the corner of Front and Yonge Streets in downtown Toronto — unless it’s to stare at his own reflection before passing through the doors.
The debate is indeed silly. The Hall of Fame, and who it deems worthy of inclusion, doesn’t affect me in any way. Yet it feels like a measure of worth. Lindros was my favorite player growing up. He was a dominant force on the ice — a wrecking ball to defenders with a laser shot. He was everything I wanted from hockey. He scored 865 points in 760 regular season games and 57 points in 53 playoff games. That is pretty darn good.
And yet Pavel Bure was selected over both Lindros and Shanahan. Bure was an immensely talented player and one of the fastest that I’ve ever seen. Yet his point totals are lower than Lindros and Shanahan’s (779 points in 702 games). Why is Bure so much more worthy than Lindros? Some will cite Lindros’ reputation as a factor.
Between the situations with his parents, his refusal to play in Quebec, the acrimony between he and Bob Clarke, and the season-long holdout in 2000-01, there were some obvious flaws to his professional and personal actions. However, The Russian Rocket didn’t exactly have a sparkling reputation, himself. Remember when he held out for a trade from Vancouver from the start of the 1998-99 season?
The point of this isn’t so much to say that Bure isn’t worthy, but rather, if he is, then Lindros certainly is.
The centerpiece to the force that was the Legion of Doom is a player still well remembered around the league and, at one point, was one of its biggest stars. His homecoming in the Winter Classic Alumni Game was an incredible moment. He was a force in the game and is someone that deserves to be in the Hall. I hope the selection committee finally sees the light, and soon.