Whether it is the Philadelphia Enquirer or the New
York Post, the headlines seem to say the same things; can Eric Lindros
make it through a season without a concussion? Did his collapsed lung or
bad knees affect his play when he resumed his career with the Rangers last
season? Eric suffered a mild
concussion last year in
playing the style of hockey that helped him win the Hart trophy in 1995. The
same style of play he will have to abandon, in order to make it through
the season in one piece.
Last season Lindros was a top-10 player in the league
and led the Rangers in almost every category. When he is healthy he can
dominate a game, and last season, statistically his numbers were great,
but it was the supporting cast that tarnished his efforts. Being a number
one center on a weak team, Lindros always saw the oppositionís top lines
because of the lack of respect the other teams had for the other Ranger
centermen, and in particular Petr Nedved.
This season itís going to be very different with Bobby Holik on
the Rangers. Holik can punish guys in front of the net and take the weight
of the world off of Lindros. As far as his health issues, fans and the
media have to remember the Rangers and Ericís family took serious steps
to make sure Ericís health was in their best interest by sending Lindros
thru a battery of tests before he even put on a Ranger sweater! Before
Lindros was acquired from Philly last year, Lindros had the maximum
recovery period of a full year out of action and medically should offer
sufficient recovery time even in the most severe of concussion cases.
Lindros was flown from
before his contract was made official, and was examined by neuro-specialist
Dr. James Kelly. He then flew to New York and underwent a battery of tests
by Rangers doctors for a full day. If this was not enough he then was
asked to add to his frequent Flyer miles by being flown to Montreal to be
tested by Dr. Karen Johnson, one of the best neurologists in the world,
and underwent a series of tests for 5 hours and passed with flying colors.
You cannot say the Rangers didnít make sure he wasnít damaged goods,
and if there was even an hint Lindros would be wheel chair bound with one
good thump, Iíd suspect some medical licenses would be revoked very
quickly, along with serious lawsuits by the Lindros family.
Watching tapes of Lindros in Philly, he always skated
with his head down and seemed never to fear the fact he may get nailed!
With Eric standing at 6-4 and the league average in height is 6-1 6-2,
every time Lindros is on the ice his chin is equal to most players tops of
their helmets! Itís a fact! Though it may be good to be a tall hulking
player, his height may actually be his Achilles heel What can be done
about this? Really what he did last season, he got his elbows up every
time he was in traffic and skated with his head up most of the time. Eric
will get better each season with learning defensive positions to better
Who knows, with Mark Messierís retirement looming
on the horizon, Lindros may well be the teams new Captain come 2003.
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