Sports Outside the Beltway

Former NHL MVP Eric Lindros retires

He had his share of injuries and controversy in a career dating back to the early 90′s. From AP-

LONDON, Ontario – Former NHL MVP Eric Lindros retired Thursday in his hometown, ending a career derailed by a series of concussions and other injuries. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound power forward had 372 goals, 865 points and 1,398 penalty minutes in 760 games for Philadelphia, Toronto, the New York Rangers and Dallas.

He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1995 and was part of the Canadian Olympic team that won gold in 2002. He also won silver for Canada in 1992.

The 34-year-old center made it through 13 seasons despite the concussions and other injuries that eventually limited his playing time. The injuries restricted him to an average of only 58 games a season, but he was an impact player when healthy.

Lindros was a free agent and hadn’t played this season. He’s expected to join the staff of the NHL Players’ Association.


But controversy seemed to overshadow Lindros wherever he went. He was selected first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 draft, but refused to play for them. He was traded to Philadelphia where he enjoyed the best years of his career until injuries and a feud with general manager Bob Clarke ran him out of town.

Lindros helped lead the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup finals, but his once-tight relationship with Clarke — Lindros said Clarke was his childhood hero — began to unravel by the end of the 1990s. Clarke had a problem dealing with Lindros’ meddlesome parents — his father, Carl, was his agent — and it slowly deteriorated over the years.

The boiling point came when Lindros criticized the team’s medical staff for failing to diagnose his second concussion of the 1999-00 season. Clarke then stripped him of his captaincy, and the star was ostracized from the team until he returned for Games 6 and 7 of the conference finals against the Devils.

After taking a 3-1 lead in the series, the Flyers lost three straight to the Devils. Lindros, playing his first game in nearly 12 weeks, scored Philadelphia’s only goal in a 2-1 loss in Game 6. He left Game 7 in the first period after a check by Scott Stevens gave him his fourth concussion of the season and sixth overall.

Then the drama really unfolded.

Clarke questioned the severity of Lindros’ concussions, and ripped his parents for meddling in their son’s life. Yet Clarke offered the former MVP an $8.5 million contract to return for the 2000-01 season.

Lindros was a good player for many years. I wish him well in retirement.

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