It’s something only Philadelphia Flyers fans would understand.
Lets take a flashback to the Spring of 2000 when Flyers centerman Eric Lindros suffered his fourth concussion of his career.
Many fans weren’t sure if the 27-year-old would ever play again. The furtherest thing from their mind was if the franchise player would ever be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The former captain ended up wearing his No. 88 jersey one more time at the 2012 Winter Classic alumni game.
Then on Monday for the first time since defensemen Mark Howe got the call in 2011, the Flyers have a Hall of Famer.
Lindros is the most revered flyer to enter the hall since Bobby Clarke in 1987
Because Lindros missed more than two seasons – mostly all due to concussions- there was doubt if the centermen would ever enter the hall, even though Lindros is the third-leading scorer among Flyers centerline with 659 points.
“You look at Eric when he played, he was dominant,” former teammate John LeClair told CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio in 2014. “When you compare some of the players who have gotten in that played with him, it’s not even close. When players were getting ready to play, they weren’t saying, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to play against so and so or so and so.’ Every time they had to play against Eric, they knew they were playing him two or three days ahead of time and they were ready because they knew that he was just a dominant force out there and they had to be ready.”
Lindros was apart one of the best lines in the teams’ history. Lindros, along with LeClair and Mikael Denberg otherwise known as “The Legion of Doom” had two tremendous years under head coach Terry Murray with a team record of 255 points in 1995-96 and 235 in 1996-97, which happened to be the only year the trio skated together in the Stanley Cup Final.
What may have taken so long for Lindros to get the call to the Hall is the fact that he played just 760, including 486 with the Orange and Black, and scored only 865 points. However, 2014 Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg had 885 points in 708 games due to losing at least of a third of his career to injury.
Forseberg, originally drafted by the Flyers in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft sixth overall, which was surprising because The Hockey News had Forsberg ranked 25th in the draft behind No. 1 overall, Lindros.
A Flyers mishap then turned into a great decision for the team about a leader as the Flyers and the then Quebec Nordiques (now Colorado Avalanche), saw a mega eight-player (including two first-round draft picks), $15 million deal that swapped Foresberg and Lindros. Forsberg went on to win two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche.
Lindros was the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) winner in 1995 and is in the top 10 in Flyers history in goals (290), assists (369), points, power play goals (82) and hat tricks (11). His 1.36 points per game remains a franchise record.
Eric Lindros & John LeClair at the Flyers Hall of Fame Induction (AFP Photo/Elsa)
Both Lindros and LeClair, who were line mates for 5 ½ years, were both inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame during the 2014-2015 season.
All of the negativity from fans who didn’t understand concussions at the time has subsiated as Lindros and Keith Primeau, to name a few, to be at the forefront of players with post-concussion syndrome. Back in the 1990s, fans didn’t know or understand the disease but now with leagues having guidelines to protect players, fans are much more well aware.
“They know hockey here,” Lindros said to Panaccio of Flyers fans. “They know the ins and outs of the game. They know when things are going well and when they’re not. They know, in some cases, really definitively why. As vocal as they are, it’s great when things are rolling, and it’s a real pick up your socks when things aren’t going so strongly. They’re true fans.”
And now after years of waiting, Lindros is a Hall of Famer.