If you look at his numbers, the answer is yes. But as we all know, Eric Lindros is much more than mere numbers.
In 760 games, the big guy scored 372 goals and added 493 assists for 865 points. Compare this to another definitive power forward, Cam Neely, who was inducted into the Hall in 2005. Neely played 726 games and had 395 goals and 299 assists for 694 points.
But Neely is loved and admired by many. Lindros on the other hand……..
Lindros rocked the boat from the get-go, and this certainly must be contibuting to the reluctance by some to put him in the shrine. In junior he was drafted by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds but refused to report because it was too far from his home and family in Toronto, and the Lindros’ felt the education system up there wasn’t quite up to scratch.
The family held their ground and the young gun ended up playing for the Oshawa Generals, which was where they wanted him all along.
But if that wasn’t enough, Eric was chosen by the Quebec Nordiques in the NHL draft and he refused to join them too, citing language problems, poor marketing there, and the family felt that a hard-core Quebec town would be hard on a highly-publicized anglophone if he stumbled and fell short of his superstar status. And fans everywhere simply couldn’t fathom that a player was trying to decide on the perfect place to play instead of just going where he was told to go.
So young Eric and his aggressive parents managed to piss off much of the hockey world.
When the dust settled, Lindros became a Philadelphia Flyers after the Flyers sent to Quebec Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a 1st round draft pick in 1993 which became Jocelyn Thibault, another 1st round draft pick in 1994, and $15,000,000 cash.
Whew. If this was a typrwriter I would have run out of ribbon ink listing all these players given up for the big fellow.
In true Lindrosying fashion, things weren’t exactly rosy in Philadelphia either, with Eric and mom and pop fighting with GM Bobby Clarke, but this is fairly understandable. Clarke is a no-nonsense, old school, belligerent warrior who wouldn’t stand for Carl and Bonnie Lindros having any say in the way their son was treated, and it became the Clarke-Lindros war. But Bobby Clarke is Bobby Clarke, a man with uncouth thoughts drowning his brain cells (see his Roger |Neilson cancer quote at the bottom), and he’s also remained buddies with the biggest crook and boor in the history of the game – Alan Eagleson.
So any fighting with Bobby Clarke should never enter in to any Lindros/ Hall of Fame discussions.
In the end, Lindros’ career was cut down with about five too many concussions, and he didn’t exactly go out with a bang. More like a huge headache.
Maybe the big guy should at some point be in the Hall. He was a great player in his prime, a guy with slick moves normally reserved for smaller men, and he crashed and banged and was in many ways, a perfect hockey player. Don’t forget, he played a big role in the 1991 Canada Cup alongside the greatest NHL stars of the day and against the greatest European players, and he was still a junior. That was most impressive, indeed.
But my thinking is, let him sweat and wonder for awhile, just like he made fans do in Sault Ste. Marie and Quebec. And his mom and dad will have no say now in his Hall of Fame quest.
(Bobby Clarke may have been a great player and was an important member of Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series, but he can be as crude and ridiculous as his buddy Eagleson. Here’s what Clarke said about Roger Neilson, then on the Flyers coaching staff, getting cancer. “Roger got cancer. That wasn’t our fault. We didn’t tell him to go and get cancer. It’s too bad that he did. We feel sorry for him, but then he went and got goofy.”)