Once bound for superstardom, Lindros retires
LONDON, Ontario ” Former NHL MVP Eric Lindros retired Thursday in his hometown, ending a career derailed by a series of concussions and other injuries.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound power forward had 372 goals, 865 points and 1,398 penalty minutes in 760 games for Philadelphia, Toronto, the New York Rangers and Dallas.
He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1995 and was part of the Canadian Olympic team that won gold in 2002. He also won silver for Canada in 1992.
The 34-year-old center made it through 13 seasons despite the concussions and other injuries that eventually limited his playing time. The injuries restricted him to an average of only 58 games a season, but he was an impact player when healthy.
Lindros was a free agent and hadn’t played this season. He’s expected to join the staff of the NHL Players’ Association.
Lindros also donated approximately $5 million to the London (Ontario) Health Sciences Foundation, where Lindros was treated during his career.
“My decision to retire from professional hockey is something that I have been considering for some time, and did not come easily,” Lindros said. “I will miss the day-to-day activity of being a member of a team, and the camaraderie that I developed with my teammates will never be forgotten.
“I played with the best, I played against the best ” it was a blast. It really truly was,” he said. “I enjoyed myself immensely.”
Lindros helped lead the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup finals, but his once-tight relationship with general manager Bob Clarke ” Lindros said Clarke was his childhood hero ” began to unravel by the end of the 1990s. Clarke had a problem dealing with Lindros’ meddlesome parents ” his father, Carl, was his agent ” and it slowly deteriorated over the years.
The boiling point came when Lindros criticized the team’s medical staff for failing to diagnose his second concussion of the 1999-00 season. Clarke then stripped him of his captaincy, and the star was ostracized from the team until he returned for Games 6 and 7 of the conference finals against the Devils.
After taking a 3-1 lead in the series, the Flyers lost three straight to the Devils. Lindros, playing his first game in nearly 12 weeks, scored Philadelphia’s only goal in a 2-1 loss in Game 6. He left Game 7 in the first period after a check by Scott Stevens gave him his fourth concussion of the season and sixth overall.
Then the drama really unfolded.
Clarke questioned the severity of Lindros’ concussions, and ripped his parents for meddling in their son’s life. Yet Clarke offered the former MVP an $8.5 million contract to return for the 2000-01 season.
Lindros rejected the Flyers’ qualifying offer almost three months after playing his last game, became a restricted free agent and demanded a trade.
Lindros was traded to the Rangers soon after.
Now, Lindros is the leading candidate to become the new ombudsman for the NHLPA.
“I think it would be a great job,” he said. “I think seeing the likes of Ted Lindsay and then later on Carl Brewer, there’s so many who have stepped up for others in the association and in the National Hockey League.
“It would be a privilege to represent the guys in our association.”