Eric Lindros was a Huge Jerk When He was Young

Voila_Capture 2014-07-17_09-31-30_AM

Jim included this in the Roundup yesterday, but I felt it deserved further calling out.

In an article for some reason written for the Huffington Post, former referee and noted tough guy Paul Stewart wrote about his first encounter with 19-year-old Eric Lindros:

Eric Lindros was a player I got off with on the wrong foot and we never developed a rapport because neither he nor I wanted one. It started out innocently enough.

I was working an afternoon Philadelphia-New Jersey game at the Spectrum; the back end of a home-and-home. The Devils won the previous game, 6-4, in a game refereed by Mark Faucette. The game got chippy late in the third period, with about 40 penalty minutes being handed out in the final five minutes, including roughing penalties to Lindros and Scott Stevens in the waning seconds of the game.

The start of the game at the Spectrum was delayed several minutes. I had to wait for the red light on the scorer’s table to indicate that the broadcast had returned from a commercial and it was OK to drop the opening faceoff.

During the delay, I made small talk with several of the Devils and Flyers on the ice. I said hello to Mark Recchi and talked to Bernie Nicholls. I then tried to greet the 19-year-old rookie Lindros.

“Hey, Eric. How are things going? How’s your dad?” I asked.

The response: “[Bleep] you. Just drop the [bleeping] puck already.”

Lindros was apparently in a bad mood because he’d recently missed 12 games with a knee injury, the team was in a losing skid, and he’d had a tough game in New Jersey. This game was also played about a week after Lindros had to go to court in Toronto after the Koo Koo Bananas incident. You know what? Those were his problems, not mine. But we were about to have a mutual problem.

Right off the opening faceoff, Lindros bulled forward and drilled Nicholls under the chin with his stick. I ditched Lindros on a high-sticking penalty.

Before the game, I had brought a tube filled with posters to Flyers’ equipment manager Jim “Turk” Evers. The posters, which depicted Recchi and Lindros, were to be autographed and then donated to a charity auction. I had done a similar thing in other cities, such as a Cam Neely and Ray Bourque poster in Boston, and a Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh.

After the game, I want to Turk to collect the poster tube.

“Stewy, you’re not going to like this,” Evers said. “I don’t have them.”

“What do you mean you don’t have them?” I asked.

“Well, Rex signed the posters but when Eric found out they were for you, he tore every one of them up. I’m sorry about that.”

I never spoke to Eric Lindros again.

One year, much later in his career when he was with the Rangers, I ended up getting him on eight minor penalties that season. I caught some heat for it from John Davidson on the Rangers’ broadcasts, but the truth of the matter was this: I did NOT go out of my way to “invent” penalties on Lindros — or any player — but I wasn’t going to give that guy a break on anything borderline that I might have let slide with a player who had gained acceptability with me.

I cringed reading that. But, two things: 1) Lindros was 19, so he had some growing up to do. 2) Stewart mentions asking about Lindros’ dad, a notorious figure and the subject of many digs at Lindros. Maybe Lindros took the remark – rightfully or wrongfully – about his father to be some sort of shot. Hey Eric, how’s your dadddddy? Something like that. I don’t know. But this made me sad.

13 Comments

  1. The Big E was awesome. Good for him for what he did.

  2. What top athlete hasn’t done that at age 19. From what I remember Paul Stewart always had it in for the Flyers. Of course he tells the story when Eric isn’t around to beat his ass down.

  3. Jimmy Russell

    July 17, 2014 at 9:59 am

    so a referee admitted certain players have “acceptability” and get away with penalties other players don’t. so much for objectivity..

  4. Jimmy’s right, so much for objectivity. I’m sure Stewart gives ALL the posters to charity.

  5. Go read the whole article at the HuffingtonPost. I assume most people won’t, but this excerpt on Lindros is just one example of this guys inflated ego and sense of self worth which is totally undeserving. He goes on to talk about how he humiliates some fan in front of his grand son and several other anecdotes about how wonderful he is, told of course, in the first person. This guy is a serious serious loser with a massive inferiority complex. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole article gets more publicity then the NHL would care to admit that it’s referees give preferential treatment to people who are nice to the refs. Sure this is probably obvious but I don’t think anybody wants to see that type of stuff in print.

    Lastly WTF on the flyers equipment manager throwing Lindros under the bus for ripping up the posters. Couldn’t he have made up some sort of excuse to protect the flyers young rookie who had an emotional issue with this guy, who probably copped some sort of an attitude well beyond what he tells in this story. Would love to hear Lindros’s perspective. Seriously this guy Turk is a total asshole who directly impacted entire seasons with any game this joker was coaching because he couldn’t tell a simple white lie to protect a 19-year-old kid. Way to go dickhead.

  6. John LeClair's needle

    July 17, 2014 at 10:29 am

    You guys like my handywork?

  7. I read the article. Stewart had a little power and abused it with that guy in the stands. another whiner with an axe to grind. another futile attempt to give Philly Sports a blacc eye.

  8. In ’84 Juan Samuel snorted coke off of a pair of tits on the field before a game.

  9. Eric Lindros was a spoiled brat who had a lot of talent and was ruined by his parents. End of story.

    • If you think that, then maybe you’ve had a few concussions yourself. 40 years and no Cup. But the organization can do no wrong.

    • I would argue that Lindros’ inability, or perhaps unwillingness to skate with his head up did more damage to his career than his parents or any perceived character flaws he had ever did.

      • rotting corpse

        July 17, 2014 at 3:31 pm

        not exactly.

        lindros didnt get his 1st concussion until his 6th 0r 7th season. would’ve happenedmuch earlier if he was that poor a hockey player. it was ’99 if i am correct.

        kasparitus crushed him cruising down the right wing looking at his feet for the puck. boom!

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