There are several things professional athletes would not like to be called,
"fragile" is certainly one. Eric Lindros has a long list of detractors
who slam him gleefully at every chance. He made no friends by refusing to play
for the financially strapped small market team, the Quebec Nordiques, when they
drafted him, first overall. He then was sent to Philadelphia for a package of
players and was comfortable being a villain as a rough young brash talented
Then the chaos that is the Flyers began to take it's toll, through constant
player shifts, coach firings and a perpetual goalie-go-round all orchestrated by
the egotistical GM, Bobby Clarke. Eric began to be seen "fragile", a
"fragile" leader, though he was an incredibly young captain. He was
blamed in the rabid Philly media for the teams shortcomings and his confidence
and ego soon became "fragile" also. Numerous concussions and a near
fatal lung collapse then spread the fragile title to his health.
Lindros was unhappy and saw the writing on the wall that his future on Broad
street would be a continued constant struggle. It seemed Eric needed a change of
scenery and bobby Clarke was all too happy to show him the door. Despite a
lengthy layoff and the "fragile" stigma attached to him, he landed on
Broadway as the rangers newest big name signee. The detractors appeared to be
right, Lindros struggled in his first few years as a Ranger, finding limited
chemistry with rotating wingers on a team with little semblance of a system.
That was then...
Eric has been showing up in games displaying a title he once held, this time
it wasn't "fragile", it was "force". He is playing with
purpose and a nasty edge that made him such a wrecking force on the flyers. He
appears to be skating fast and making crisp passes with comfortable linemates in
Anson Carter and Martin Rucinsky. Ranger fans saw Lindros at his peak in the '97
playoff series that Eric dominated under much hype of passing the torch from
current teammate Mark Messier as the dominant physical forward. Lindros then was
burned by that torch, but continued on and finally persevered. It may be only
pre season, but it certainly looks like Lindros is back as that power forward,
if he remains healthy and continues to gel with his preferred wing, Rucinsky and
new flank, Carter, this could be a long season. Not long as in intolerable like
the last few, but long as in the Rangers may be playing well into April.
May the "force" be with him.
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