November 09, 2016

The Big E: Eric Lindros

From's Pierre Lebrun:

Eric Lindros is smiling a lot these days.

It's not so much because he finally got the call for the Hockey Hall of Fame, though make no mistake, he's thrilled about that.

No, this has to do with his lot in life. Happily married and with three very young children, life after hockey is suiting The Big E just fine.

Eric Lindros 2.0 knows a thing or two about changing diapers.

"Wiping butts and cleaning up spills," he said with a smile during a sit-down interview recently. "Our kids take up most of our time. We've got three under 29 months now. It's off to the park, off to libraries, swim classes, we're on the go. It's what parents do, right?"

There's contentment in his voice, perhaps something that was missing at times during a hockey career that contained electrifying moments as well as its share of controversies.

He has been able to reconnect with the sport that made him famous via his pickup games in his native Toronto.

"Hockey is a great game. Hockey is a wonderful game," Lindros said. "So many great memories about what it is. Even now, I look forward to skating with the guys on Tuesday. Thursday morning we have a really good skate too. No referees.

"It's great. It's wonderful. It's hockey."

Here's the full Pierre Lebrun feature on 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Eric Lindros.

Long time readers will already know that I was a huge and unapologetic Lindros fan back in the 1990s.

I don't expect you to like Eric Lindros. It is not the easiest thing to do. He dug his own hole, taking unpopular stances about dictating where he was going to play. He's guarded, moody, abrupt and has no visibly likable personality, and he pissed off a lot of fans and a lot of hockey people along the way.

Before he ever stepped out on an NHL ice surface, Eric Lindros was heralded as the next great superstar. Even as a boy he could dominate NHLers physically, as he proved in the 1991 Canada Cup. Plus he had all the skills to be a great scorer - great shot, good passing, good skating, good stickhandling. He was unrealistically billed as the closest thing to a perfect hockey player since Gordie Howe. Expectations were out of this world.

Add to that the fact that he spurned much of Canada, especially French Canada, for his refusal to play for the Quebec Nordiques, and he had already turned many fans and media members against him. Then he goes to Philly, where he is immediately the target of a vicious circle of media and fans from arch rival cities like Washington, Pittsburgh, and especially New York. It seemed like the whole world was against this guy.

Here is my full profile of Eric Lindros.

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