This is Part 2 of 2. Part 1 is here. I think I went over 44. Oh well.
Lindros’ game-winner with seven seconds to go against the Rangers
He had a hat trick in Game 3 and scored the game-winner in Game 4 to give the Flyers a 3-1 series lead against the Rangers in the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals.
Lindros snubs Quebec, arbiter awards him to Flyers over Rangers
For those of us under 40, it’s easy to forget what a HUGE deal this was. From Wikipedia:
Lindros’s entry to the National Hockey League proceeded in much the same manner. Lindros was selected first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Lindros had signaled in advance that he would never play for the Nordiques, citing distance, lack of marketing potential, and having to speak French; the team selected him anyway. Nordiques president Marcel Aubut publicly announced that they would make Lindros the centrepiece of their franchise turnaround, and refused to trade Lindros, saying that he would not have a career in the NHL as long as he held out. Because of Lindros’ popularity and hype, it is alleged that NHL President Gil Stein intervened to get the Nordiques to trade him, as it would otherwise damage the image of the league. While he awaited a trade, Lindros spent the time playing with the Oshawa Generals and also participated in the 1992 Winter Olympics, winning a Silver Medal with Team Canada.
In 1992, the Nordiques worked out trades for him with both the New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers. Eventually an arbitrator, Larry Bertuzzi (granduncle of Todd Bertuzzi), ruled in favour of the Flyers, for whom Lindros played from 1992 to 2000, most of the time as the team’s captain.
Many consider this trade a key reason that the Colorado Avalanche (the new name of the Nordiques after they relocated before the 1995-96 season), went on to be an NHL powerhouse. They received in the trade the rights to eventual Hart Trophy winner Peter Forsberg, as well as Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a 1st round selection (Jocelyn Thibault) in 1993, a 1st round selection (later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, later traded to the Washington Capitals—Nolan Baumgartner) in 1994, and $15,000,000 cash. Since the trade, the Avalanche have won eight division titles and two Stanley Cup championships, due in part to the play of Forsberg, and the later addition of Patrick Roy, whom the Avalanche received in a later package deal that included Thibault.
Craig MacTavish’s head
One day, you’re going to tell your kids that you remember when hockey players played without helmets.
Still have no idea if this was true, but Lindros supposedly dated a 16-year-old high school basketball player. If this happened today it would break Twitter.
Garth Snow’s gigantic shoulder pads
Ever wonder how Garth Snow became a part-time goalie on a Stanley Cup contender?
This awful premium seats commercial
It always bothered me that those weren’t actual hockey dasher boards.
Lindros’ hit on Konstantinov
I was sitting across the ice from this when it happened and for a moment people seriously thought Konstantinov was going to die. It was a time before, um, they took concussions seriously.
Also, looking back on all this it appears as though every single Eric Lindros hit was illegal.
“A choking situation”
Choke is not a pretty word in the idiom of professional sports. The word is rarely employed — out loud, at least — when a coach is referring to his own team. In the Stanley Cup finals, such a description, with all its pejorative connotations, is almost unheard of from the man behind the bench.
But it is the word that Philadelphia Coach Terry Murray employed today, with his Flyers on the brink of being swept straight out of this year’s finals by the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
The walls are definitely caving in on Philadelphia. The team held a couple of closed-door meetings following its practice session this morning — one in which Murray did all the talking, the second in which the players met by themselves. And when the meetings were done, Eric Lindros, the Philadelphia captain who is still searching for his first goal of the championship round, snuck out of Joe Louis Arena to avoid a session with reporters.
Lindros’s action raised eyebrows, but not as many as Murray had raised when he was asked about the Flyers’ loss of confidence, a condition apparent in Thursday night’s 6-1 rout by the Red Wings.
”I wish I could find it,” Murray said. ”I wish I could find the answer for that. I don’t know where it’s gone. But many teams have been through this before. It’s basically a choking situation, that I call it, for a team right now.
Keith Primeau’s overtime winner, and Andy Delmore, too
The Flyers went to Pittsburgh down 2-0 in the second round in 2000. Andy Delmore (ANDY DELMORE!) won Game 3 in overtime before the five-overtime Game 4. The winner of that game was clearly going to win the series. Primeau’s goal broke the Penguins’ soul, setting up Andy Delmore (ANDY DELMORE!) for a hat trick at home in Game 5. The Flyers won in six. This was another one Lindros wasn’t around for (he returned in Game 6 against the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals).
Lindros’ equipment quirks
Big E always looked so unique on the ice, partly because he was gigantic, but also because he had a few equipment quirks… and every youth hockey player in the Delaware Valley tried to mimic them. He had the Cooper-Bauer sponsorship, so, at a minimum, everyone had to have their products. You just weren’t cool with a CCM or, worse, Jofa helmet (seriously, you got beat up if you wore a Jofa helmet*). But it went further than that. As an example, I played with the son of a local (still active) newscaster, and he had to have it all, every detail of the Lindros look (complete with lazy-ish, coasting, drifting, sometimes-look-better-than-I-play demeanor). The Bauer skates? Check:
The trademarked MASSIVE shin guards-over-said-skates-with-socks-wrapped-around-the-back? Check:
Those hideous gloves? Check:
And that terrible, ill-advised, almost-completely-useless with razor-thin-uncurved-blade tape job? Oh you’re goddamn right:
And those were all just from the early years. Remember when Eric, for reasons unknown to man, decided that he just had to remove that little leather flap covering the screw holes on his Cooper helmet:
WHY, ERIC? WHY?! No one else did that. NO ONE.
And then, some years later, when he switched to the newer concussion-proof (haha!) Bauer helmet, the word Bauer was removed from the two black adjustable clips:
What on God’s green Earth did Eric’s dad do to sour relations with Bauer to the point that his son would only let the name appear in one spot, as opposed to the usual three, on his helmet?!
*For a time I actually went Messier-style Cooper helmet before switching to the two Lindros-era Cooper-Bauer jawns.
The brawl against the Sabres
The Dan Line
Rod Brind’Amour being the only player who showed up to the 1997 Finals
This picture was on the back page of the Daily News with, I believe, the headline Rod, Save Us. He had three goals and an assist over the first three games of the series. And then he, along with the rest of the team, mailed it in for the clincher. He also led the league in playoff scoring that year, with 13 goals.
The 17-game unbeaten streak
But this was not any other night over the past six weeks. This was the night the Flyers’ 17-game unbeaten streak ended, the night when the defensively suspect Tampa Bay Lightning made like the 1996 Florida Panthers or the 1995 New Jersey Devils, shutting down the Flyers all over the ice.
It was the night when the Flyers finally didn’t get that bounce they needed, but it also was the night when, finally, the Flyers didn’t really deserve to get it, because they were outhustled down the stretch, for the first time since their 14-0-3 streak began, Nov. 30 in Ottawa. It was the longest unbeaten streak in the NHL in nearly four years.
I actually cried when this was over.
During the late-90’s, radio song parodies were all the rage. Barsky’s Offspring jam was perhaps the most memorable (video is wrong– it was circa 1996), but Joe Conklin* had a few, too. During the 1997 Cup run, there was one about Bob Clarke set to Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy and another about the Flyers set to Paula Cole’s Where Have All The Cowboys Gone? The 90’s were a weird time.
*I’ve asked Conklin if he has copies of these. He said he’ll check. I’ll add them here if he sends along.
Legend has it he never lost a face-off. He couldn’t do anything else on the ice – literally, anything – but he never lost a face-off.*
*He was probably like 52% or some shit, but hey, let’s not let facts get in the way of the legend of defensive forward Joel Otto.
Karl Dykhuis bouncing puck
Game 1 against the Sabres in 1995. The Flyers’ first playoff game in years. Karl Dykhuis wins it with a bouncing puck. Stanley Cup Playoff hockey was back in Philadelphia.
Desjardins and Haller win Games 1 and 2 against the Rangers
The next series in 1995. That Desjardins goal is my favorite hockey goal ever. Why were the tongues on his skates so big?
Craig Carton accuses Lindros of missing a game because he was hungover
Flyers chairman Ed Snider said yesterday that the club was looking into severing ties with its flagship radio station, WIP-AM, because the station reported last week that center Eric Lindros had missed a Feb. 15 game against Pittsburgh with a hangover.
The Flyers vigorously denied the report.
“This was WIP at their worst again,” Snider said. “I don’t know what we can do with the radio rights, but we are looking into it.”
The Flyers have one year left on their contract with WIP (610).
Craig Carton, a talk-show host at WIP, said on the air Friday that Lindros had been drinking in a public place the night before the game, had shown up with a hangover, and had been suspended for the game by the club.
Carton cited what he said were four unnamed sources, including two inside the Flyers’ organization.
“No question, I stand behind my story,” Carton said last night. “I don’t take pleasure in this story, either.”
Sources at WIP said Carton met yesterday with station management. The sources said the station expected the tape of the Friday broadcast to be subpoenaed and Lindros or the Flyers to file a lawsuit.
“We’d sure love to do it,” Snider said when asked if he was considering filing one.
The station’s manager, Tom Bigby, said: “I believe that Craig Carton believes his story is factual.”
As for possible legal action by Lindros, Bigby said: “On what basis would he sue us?”
Man, how many Ed Snider hates WIP stories are there from over the years? Don’t forget he freaked out a couple of years ago when they bumped a Flyers playoff game to 610 AM in favor of a regular season Phillies game, which was broadcast on the newer 94.1.
You always knew intermission was nearing an end when it was time for Gary Dornhoefer and his telestrator. I don’t know if he was unsure how to work it or if producers wouldn’t let him because he was nuts, but someone always had to start and stop it for him. Now stop it right there! But here’s the thing: they never stopped it right there! It was always a second or two late, forcing Dorny to just tell you what happened. I swear by the end it became a man vs. machine thing and Dorny slowly started to lose it. Eventually I think the Flyers and Comcast realized he was batshit crazy, so they decided to move him to a fan-facing role as ambassador and replace him… with Steve Coates and Keith Jones.
Legion of Doom
The most dominant group of local athletes I have ever seen play together. I can just picture them cycling behind the net– LeClair using his massive frame to protect the puck, Lindros whirling around effortlessly (sometimes literally), Renberg collecting pucks and points. They all complemented each other so well. They could score in so many ways. It was almost unfair for opponents when they were on the ice together. Thanks for the memories, guys.