As time passes, the outcome of last night’s game will be no more than a footnote in history as everyone else will remember the pomp and circumstance.
They’ll remember nearly 20,000 people wearing Eric Lindros T-shirts.
They’ll remember the number 88 painted into the ice behind each net. Or, in each corner where he laid out many an opponent with his physical style, or even across the the tarp that covers each tunnel entrance into the locker room area.
They’ll remember the 50-foot projection screens that hung from the scoreboard that showed highlights of Lindros’ career and how, at the end, they dropped rapidly to the ice to reveal, standing alone at center ice, the player who many believe was responsible for the erecting of the Wells Fargo Center to begin with. Big E. Standing amidst the trophies he and his team won in his career – receiving thunderous applause from the fans.
They’ll remember how the Flyers, and specifically Lou Nolan, once again proving why he’s the best Master of Ceremonies, maybe ever, deftly introduced Eric’s parents – Bonnie and Carl, the most meddling parental duo in the history of Philadelphia sports and arguably in the history of the four major sports in North America – by having them escorted to the ice by Lindros’ running mates who got a huge ovation: John Leclair and Mikael Renberg.
They’ll remember the No. 88 slowly being lifted to the rafters, where it became the sixth retired number in franchise history, finally coming to rest, slightly askew (I’m sure the Wells Fargo denizens will fix it by Saturday), in a twist of irony right next to Bobby Clarke’s No. 16.
They’ll remember the messages being played on the scoreboard throughout the game from great players from the Lindros’ era giving video tributes to No. 88 (of course, Jeremy Roenick’s was delivered from a golf course and was the one that blathered on the longest).
They’ll remember all that.
What they might not remember though is a gut check performance by the current hockey team that took place on the ice afterward, in what amounts to just another crucial game for a Flyers team that has designs on making the postseason, no matter how difficult it might be for a last place club at this juncture in the season.
Check that. They’re no longer in last place.