"Sorry little buddy, my head hurts."
"I need a drink."
As we reported in TMS this morning, Eric Lidros is retiring tomorrow. We of course should probably wait for our "tribute" until it's official, but the Habs are playing tomorrow, and obvioulsy that's much more important.
He was The Next One way before Sid the Kid was. Dominant. Size and skills in a package that had never really been seen before. Sure, Mario had the size, but never threw it around the way Eric did. In the end, that style may have been his downfall.
We remember the way he dominated the World Juniors. In 1991, his second year on that team, he had 17 points in 7 games on the way to the gold medal. (3rd leading scorer on that Canada team? Breezer. But I digress). There was no way he wasn't on the way to a Hall of Fame career.
Things started badly form the get-go. He warned the Nordiques not to draft him, and we Quebecers began our hatred of him right then and there. Of course the Nords drafted him anyway, and Lindros pissily refused to put on a sweater or report. Eventually, the subsequent trade would hand the Avalanche 2 Stanley Cups several years later.
But he was a success early on in Philly. We remember him racking up points at a ridiculous rate in the early years. We remember the Legion of Doom terrorizing the league, alot of it at the expense of the Habs. We remember him leading the Flyers to the Cup Finals in 1997, and remember him sucking big time against the Red Wings. It was the proverbial beginning of the end.
Darius Kasparitis and Bob ("don't call me Bobby") Clarke. It's hard to know who was more reposnsible in 1998 for the beginning of the downfall. Kaspy gave Lindros his first concussion (they need a Hallmark card for that) and Bobby started to hate him. Even though he hated him, or maybe because of it, he made him captain of the 1998 Olympic team over more established players (notably some guy named Wayne Gretzky), leading to resentment amongst alot of people and an embarassing 4th place finish.
Things really went downhill from 1998. Feuding between the Lindros family and Bobby, a Scott Stevens "hit" in the playoffs, sitting out 2000-2001 like a whiny kid, some mediocre years in New York highlighted by his 8th (!) concussion, other assorted injuries, and what might be any player's downfall, playing with the Leafs. He would end his career in a Stars uniform, or at least on the Stars' IR. He'll now put his battered noggin to use for the NHLPA.
So much potential. So much of it wasted. That's what we remember.
What's your Lindros memory? Let's hear it in the comments.
Hall Worthy? (Going Five Hole)
Damn you, future! (The 700 Level)