LONDON, Ontario -- Former NHL MVP Eric Lindros retired
Thursday in his hometown, ending a career derailed by a series of
concussions and other injuries.
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.
Lindros also donated approximately $5 million to the London
(Ontario) Health Sciences Foundation, where he was treated during
"My decision to retire from professional hockey is something
that I have been considering for some time and did not come
easily," Lindros said. "I will miss the day-to-day activity of
being a member of a team and the camaraderie that I developed with
my teammates will never be forgotten.
blast. It really truly was," he said. "I enjoyed myself
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
The boiling point came when Lindros criticized the team's
medical staff for failing to diagnose his second concussion of the
1999-2000 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
Lindros rejected the Flyers' qualifying offer almost three
months after playing his last game, became a restricted free agent
and demanded a trade. He sat out the 2000-01 season and was traded
to the Rangers in August 2001.
Former Flyers teammate John LeClair called Lindros a
"tremendous talent and a dominating player."
"He had it all: size, strength and finesse," LeClair said.
"It is unfortunate injuries cut his time in the NHL short, but he
had a great career and left his mark on the game."
Now, Lindros is the leading candidate to become the new
ombudsman for the NHLPA.
"I think it would be a great job," he said. "I think seeing
the likes of Ted Lindsay and then later on Carl Brewer, there's so
many who have stepped up for others in the association and in the
National Hockey League.
"It would be a privilege to represent the guys in our
association," he said.