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Legends of Team Canada: Chris Lindberg

Many Canadian fans always had a soft spot for Dave King's Canadian national teams back in the 1980s and early 1990s. Generally speaking the team was made up of defensive minded speedsters who were long shots to win Olympic and international tournaments. Many of the players graduated to the NHL with varying levels of success.

One of the more noticeable "Nats" players in the 1991-92 season was Chris Lindberg. Of course the national team got quite a lot of attention that year. It was an Olympic year after all, and with the fall of the Soviet Union some believed Canada finally had an equal chance to compete on a level international playing field. Moreover, Canada had a strong team with NHL super-prospect/hold out Eric Lindros leading the way. Joey Juneau, Brad Schlegel and Jason Woolley also played big roles, as did NHL imports like Sean Burke, Dave Hannan, and Dave Tippett.

Lindberg was noticeable first and foremost because of his astonishing speed. He could keep up with the fastest Russians and then some. He was often asked to kill penalties and be the first man in on the forecheck. His speed also created a lot of offensive opportunities. In two seasons with the Nats he scored 25 and 33 goals. In the Olympics he scored 1 goal and 5 points in 8 games.

Lindberg's dedication to the national team paid off in Albertville at the Olympics. Canada would lose to the Russians (playing under the title of "Unified Team" due to the evolving break up of the Soviet Union) 3-1 in the final game. Canada had nothing to be ashamed of in winning the silver medal.

Immediately after the Olympics Lindberg made the jump to the Calgary Flames. He played in 17 games to end the NHL season, scoring 2 goals and 7 points.

Dave King finally tried his hand at the NHL game. He signed on with the Calgary Flames as head coach for the 1992-93 season. This was great news for Lindberg. Lindberg stayed with the Flames full time that season, scoring 9 goals and 21 points in helping the Flames return to the playoffs.

Lindberg left Calgary prior to the 1993-94 season, signing as a free agent with the Quebec Nordiques. He played half a season in Quebec before being demoted to the minor leagues where he was a strong offensive player in the playoffs with the Cornwall Aces.

Lindberg could read the writing on the wall and he must not have liked the idea of riding buses in the minor leagues for the rest of his career. He took control of his own destiny and headed overseas to play in European leagues where his speed and experience would allow him to play more prominent roles. He played in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and even a season in Japan, extending his career by an extra 10 years.


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