With the announcement of the 2009 class to be inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Greg Wyshynski, who I met at Blogs With Balls, brought up the question of whether or not Eric Lindros is deserving of the Hall of Fame.
Ultimately, Wyshynski, a noted Devils fan, comes to the conclusion that " yeah, bottom line: Eric Lindros is a Hall of Famer." Read his take. It's very well said, and it is surely going to be the hot topic when it comes to the induction next year. Will he or won't he? Should he or shouldn't he?
It's no secret that Eric Lindros' time in Philadelphia can best be described as unfulfilled promise. He came here as the savior of the franchise, the savior of hockey. The next Great One. And in the beginning, he looked every bit the part. Lindros revived a dormant Flyers franchise, become a dominant force — steamrolling the opposition with a frightening array of power and skill — won the Hart Trophy, led Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup Finals … and looked prime to, as he so emotionally put it, "do it." (1:45 in)
Of course, his penchant for skating with his head down did him in, forcing a series of concussions that limited his time on the ice, and the Flyers, unfortunately, did not do it. Lindros and his parents got into a rift with then GM Bobby Clarke, and the Eric Lindros era that began with so much promise and hope ended sourly. After the hit by Scott Stevens in game 7 of the 2000 Eastern Conference finals, Lindros was never, ever again the same. He was a shell of his former self.
But during his prime years in Philadelphia, Eric Lindros was one of the most intimidating, dangerous players in hockey. Without question, in those years, he was one of, hell, arguably the best player in the league. He was big. He was strong. He could hit, he could skate, he could fight, he score, he could pass and he won face-offs with the best of them. Other than his fatal flaw (skating with his head down), Lindros had no other weakness. He could simply do it all on skates. He revived the Flyers in Philadelphia, reinvented what a superstar looked like in the sport. He turned John LeClair into a 50-goal scorer. He transformed the Flyers into the class of the Eastern Conference.
Simply put, Eric Lindros was amazing.
He is far and away the best hockey player I've ever seen don the Orange and Black. His prime was cut short to injury, and he left with bitterness. But Eric Lindros was not only a great player, he was a phenomenon. Perhaps that won't get him the Hall of Fame, but I tend to agree with Puck Daddy on this one. Eric Lindros is a Hall of Famer.