Loss of Lindros would be 'devastating'

Updated: January 29, 2004, 6:02 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers might have to make a playoff push without one of their biggest stars.

Eric Lindros sustained another concussion -- the eighth of his career -- and had to leave the Rangers' 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

The severity of the injury wasn't immediately known, and the Rangers said Lindros would be re-evaluated Thursday.

"None of us saw him after the game, so we have to remain positive and wait and see," said center Bobby Holik, who added that the possible loss of Lindros would be "devastating."

Lindros took a hard hit along the boards from Capitals defenseman Jason Doig in the second period and was knocked to the ice.

On his next shift, Lindros took the faceoff and immediately dropped his gloves and stick and went after Doig. After a brief scuffle, Lindros pinned Doig to the ice. Both received fighting majors at 10:53.

Lindros did not return for the third period. Washington held on for a 2-1 victory.

"We've spoken to the doctor, [concussion specialist] Karen Johnston in Montreal," Rangers coach and general manager Glen Sather said. "These things are hard to judge. By her over-the-phone diagnosis after talking to our doctors, they don't think it's that severe."

Lindros was not available for comment after the game.

"He came through with his head down," Doig said. "I've got to make that hit. Guys around the league know I step up and make that play. I have all the respect in the world for Eric. I told him, 'I'm not trying to hurt you.' "

In his third season with the Rangers, the 1995 NHL MVP has been playing his best hockey in years of late. He has 10 goals and 22 assists in 39 games.

The All-Star center was traded to New York by Philadelphia after sitting out a season because of a bitter feud with Flyers general manager Bob Clarke and while recovering from his seventh concussion.

"He's a big player to be out of the lineup," Rangers captain Mark Messier said. "He's an important part of our team. We will all have to pick it up in a lot of areas."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press