<
>

Lindros' Cup search takes center to Dallas

7/25/2006 - NHL Eric Lindros Dallas Stars + more

DALLAS -- Eric Lindros has been a No. 1 overall pick, a six-time NHL All-Star and the league MVP. He even got the chance to play for his hometown team.

None of that got him what he really wants: a Stanley Cup title.

"It's the one thing that's really missing as far as playing,"
the 33-year-old Lindros said Tuesday. "I think this is the best
chance for me."

Lindros was formally introduced Tuesday as a member of the Dallas Stars, a team six seasons removed from its only title and coming off another first-round exit from the playoffs.

While the most notable of five new players, Lindros comes to Dallas as a key complementary piece, not the marquee attraction. The oft-injured center signed a one-year, $1.55 million contract last week.

Lindros was limited by a wrist injury to 33 games in his only season in Toronto, but still managed 11 goals and 11 assists for his hometown team. Before that, he played in Philadelphia and for the New York Rangers _ averaging 59 games in 12 seasons and missing all of 2000-01 because of a concussion, one of at least eight in his career.

Lindros, center Jeff Halpren, right wing Matthew Barnaby and defensemen Darryl Sydor and Jaroslav Modry join a Dallas team already with a nucleus of established stars such as Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen and goaltender Marty Turco.

"It's a great situation," Lindros said. "I want to get through a full year. I know if I get on a roll and my health is out of the equation, I know I can play and contribute."

Sydor, a member of the Stars' 1999 championship team who also won another title with Tampa Bay in 2004, is back after being traded from the Lightning earlier this month.

"I got thrown in a situation at Tampa Bay where basically they had it going and I came in with experience," said Sydor, the
34-year-old defenseman who has played 16 NHL seasons. "I've taken
my game in the leadership area to a new level. That's the thing
that's helped me out. That's what I expect of myself here."

And that's important for the Stars, who lost centers Jason Arnott and Bill Guerin and defenseman Willie Mitchell this offseason.

Donning Dallas sweaters for the first time were former Washington captain Halpren, fellow free agent Barnaby, and Modry, acquired in a draft day trade with Atlanta.

"When I look at these players, I see character, leadership and
talent," said general manager Doug Armstrong, who received a
three-year contract extension through 2011 on Tuesday. "Most
importantly, I see players that want to win a championship."

After Lindros slipped the No. 88 sweater over his head, Stars owner Tom Hicks smiled and told his new center how good it looked.

Things are much different for Lindros than in 1992, when he was a 19-year-old rookie and hailed as the next Wayne Gretzky. Or when he left the Flyers on poor terms and went to New York in 2001. Or went home last year.

Lindros was the MVP in 1995, his third year in the league, scored a career-best 115 points the following season and made it to the Stanley Cup finals with the Flyers in 1997. It seemed then that there would be many more great moments -- and eventually a championship.

"I never really looked at it in that sense," Lindros said. "I thought we had some good teams in Philly. That didn't come to be.
You make decisions in your life. I knew last year going to Toronto
that it didn't have the strongest team, but I was playing in my
hometown. You never know what could happen when things come
together."

Lindros is hoping everything comes together with the Stars.

Barnaby, who played all 82 games and led Chicago in penalty minutes, was "ecstatic" when he got a call that his contract was
being bought out by the Blackhawks.

"I got to hand-pick where I wanted to be," said Barnaby, Lindros' teammate for three seasons in New York. "After talking to several teams, the decision was this is where I wanted to play. I got the feeling this is the team with the best chance to win a Stanley Cup. That's why we're all here."