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Eric Bryan Lindros (born February 28, 1973 in London, Ontario, Canada) is a professional ice hockey player with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League. His once-promising career has been clouded by frequent serious injuries and a headstrong approach to the game's politics.
Eric Lindros is of Swedish heritage. His great grandfather Axel immigrated from Sweden to Canada, and Eric is from the third generation of Lindroses to have been born in Canada. "Lindros" means "Rose of the Linden tree."
As a teenaged power forward playing minor hockey, Lindros became nationally famous both for his scoring feats and his ability to physically dominate players up to six years older than him. Lindros played for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League for parts of three seasons from 1990 to 1992. During that time, he scored 97 goals and had 119 assists in 95 games played. He attended St. Michael's College School in Toronto with his brother and fellow hockey player, Brett Lindros. Lindros' play made him the most highly valued amateur player in North America and he was often nicknamed "The Next One", a reference to Wayne Gretzky's moniker "The Great One."
A controversy arose when Lindros refused to go to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds after they drafted him. Lindros had already stated his intention not to join the Greyhounds, but Greyhounds owner Phil Esposito had drafted him anyway, enabling Esposito to sell his share in the team at a higher price. Lindros was traded to the Oshawa Generals instead, and when they played the Greyhounds, some Greyhound players wore black armbands in protest of Lindros' antics.
Lindros' entry to the National Hockey League proceeded in much the same manner. Lindros was selected first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Lindros had signaled in advance that he would never play for the Nordiques, going so far as to refuse to wear the team's jersey on draft day; the team selected him knowing that they could command a high price in trade. In 1992, the Nordiques worked out trades for him with both the New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers. Eventually, an arbitrator by the name of Larry Bertuzzi – uncle of NHLer Todd Bertuzzi – ruled his rights belonged to the Flyers, for whom he played from 1992 to 2000, most of the time as the team's captain.
Many consider this trade a key reason that the Colorado Avalanche, which the Nordiques became in 1995, went on to be an NHL powerhouse. They received in the trade Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a 1st round selection (Jocelyn Thibault) in 1993, a 1st round selection (later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, later traded to the Washington Capitals - Nolan Baumgartner) in 1994, and $15,000,000 cash. Since the trade, the Avalanche have won eight division titles and two Stanley Cup championships, due in large part to the play of Forsberg and Patrick Roy, whom the Avalanche received in a package deal that included Thibault.
With his imposing physical strength and playmaking ability, Lindros established himself as the top player on a Flyers team that had perennially been in contention but always fell short. His time in Philadelphia would see him score points at a phenomenal rate (for much of his first 5 seasons in the NHL, Lindros hovered around 4th all-time in points per game) and become one of the most feared players in the NHL, eventually leading the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals in 1997 (which they lost to the Detroit Red Wings); he would also suffer frequent injuries and feud with general manager Bobby Clarke.
Along with John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, he was a charter member of the Flyers' dreaded "Legion of Doom" line. He scored over 40 goals in each of first two seasons and won the Hart Trophy as MVP in the lockout-shortened season of 1995 by scoring 29 goals and 41 assists in 46 games. 1997, he led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals, handily defeating their three opponents along the way. The Flyers were overmatched against the Detroit Red Wings, however, and failed to win a game. Lindros' only goal of the Stanley Cup Finals came in Game 4, with the Flyers down 2-0 and minutes away from being swept.
Lindros' relationship with Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke soon deteriorated. He and Clarke feuded in the media, with Clarke questioning his toughness; Lindros spent many games on the injured reserve and suffered a series of concussions. He was also rumored to be having an affair with Rod Brind'Amour's wife Kelle, although his continued close friendship with Brind'Amour makes that seem spurious. During an April 1, 1999 game against the Nashville Predators, Lindros suffered what was diagnosed as a rib injury. Later that night, the teammate he was sharing a hotel room with, Keith Jones, discovered Lindros lying in a tub, pale and cold. In a call to the Flyers, the trainer was told to put Lindros on a plane that was returning to Philadelphia with injured team mate Mark Recchi. But Jones insisted that Lindros be taken to a nearby hospital and it was discovered Lindros had a collapsed lung caused by internal bleeding of his chest wall. It was estimated he'd bled out more than half his body's total blood volume. Lindros's father wrote the Flyers a letter in which he stated that if the trainer had followed team orders, Eric would be dead (a statement supported by the doctors who treated him in Nashville). The following season, he was stripped of his captaincy after criticizing team doctors. Once again plagued by concussions, Lindros returned in the Eastern Conference Finals, in which he played the final two games of the series, the latter of which Lindros suffered another concussion after an infamous (but clean) hit by New Jersey Devils defenceman Scott Stevens. The Flyers lost the final game and the series, and Lindros became a restricted free agent during the off-season.
The following summer, Lindros refused to sign with the Flyers, who still owned his rights. After Lindros was cleared to play in December, the Flyers refused to deal his rights to the Toronto Maple Leafs, as he preferred, and Lindros sat out the rest of 2000-01 NHL season. During that season, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said he didn't care about Lindros and that he "didn't give a shit if he ever played another NHL game." Clarke reluctantly traded Lindros to the New York Rangers. Ironically it was the Rangers with whom he had almost begun his NHL career. In September 2001, The Flyers dealt him to the Rangers for Jan Hlavac, Kim Johnsson, Pavel Brendl and a conditional draft pick.
He played for the Rangers for the next three seasons. Though his second season with them was the first injury-free one of his career, in 2004 he sustained his eighth concussion. He was given permission by a doctor to resume training; however, two doctors (who have never examined or treated him) have suggested Lindros retire. He again became an unrestricted free agent.
On August 11, 2005, after the NHL labour dispute had wiped out the 2004-05 season, Lindros signed a one-year, $1.55 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2005-06 NHL season. After a steady start to his tenure with Toronto in which he recorded 22 points in 32 games, Lindros suffered a tear of a ligament in his left wrist against the Dallas Stars on December 10, 2005. After a 27-game absence, Lindros returned to the Toronto lineup on February 28, 2006 against the Washington Capitals. His return was short-lived, however, as he re-injured his wrist while taking a slap shot in a game against the Ottawa Senators on March 5, 2006, effectively ending his season. He had surgery on the ligament by Dr. Herb von Schroeder two days after the game. As an unrestricted free agent, his future with the Toronto Maple Leafs remains uncertain at this point in time. However, Lindros has suggested in the press that he would be interested in returning to the Leafs for the 2006-07 season.
His brother Brett was also a professional player but was forced to retire early due to multiple concussions. His father is also his agent, and his family has been criticized for pushing him too hard and interfering with his hockey decisions.
--- Regular Season --- ---- Playoffs ---- Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1988-89 Canadian National Team Intl 2 1 0 1 0 1989-90 Canadian National Team Intl 3 1 0 1 4 1989-90 Oshawa Generals OHL 25 17 19 36 61 17 18 18 36 76 1990-91 Oshawa Generals OHL 57 71 78 149 189 16 18 20 38 93 1991-92 Oshawa Generals OHL 13 9 22 31 54 -- -- -- -- -- 1991-92 Canadian National Team Intl 24 19 16 35 34 1992-93 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 61 41 34 75 147 -- -- -- -- -- 1993-94 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 65 44 53 97 103 -- -- -- -- -- 1994-95 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 46 29 41 70 60 12 4 11 15 18 1995-96 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 73 47 68 115 163 12 6 6 12 43 1996-97 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 52 32 47 79 136 19 12 14 26 40 1997-98 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 63 30 41 71 134 5 1 2 3 17 1998-99 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 71 40 53 93 120 -- -- -- -- -- 1999-00 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 55 27 32 59 83 2 1 0 1 0 2000-01 Did Not Play - Injured 0 0 0 0 0 2001-02 New York Rangers NHL 72 37 36 73 138 -- -- -- -- -- 2002-03 New York Rangers NHL 81 19 34 53 141 -- -- -- -- -- 2003-04 New York Rangers NHL 39 10 22 32 60 -- -- -- -- -- 2005-06 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 33 11 11 22 43 -- -- -- -- -- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NHL Totals 711 367 472 839 1328 50 24 33 57 118