Love him or hate him, you had to respect that Eric Lindros was a force to be reckoned with during most of his NHL career. Few players really ever change a game, but Lindros is certainly one of them. Remember how many Eastern Conference teams tried to acquire strong centermen just to deal with The Big E and the Legion of Doom? Remember how drafting tall "project" centerman, no matter how poorly skilled they were, was the fashion du jour? That was all due to the impact Lindros had on the game, for better or for worse.
As an an old Panthers fan, I can remember how then-GM Bryan Murray ruined the franchise with his hellbent lust to acquire the 'prized BIG CENTER'. Remember Chris Wells? Apparently, he was Murray's vision of the next BIG THING when Rob Niedermayer didn't quite work out (neither did Viktor Kozlov, or any other center Murray thought was going to work for him)
Sure, the Avalanche/Nordiques got the better of 'the trade', Lindros never won a cup, and Eric was content to sit back and have his parents whine about his ice time, but Lindros should always be remembered as a player who could do everything well and force opponents to change their strategy just to deal with the guy. If you ever wanted to come up with the 'complete player', Lindros was pretty damn close to filling every requirement.
Still, thanks to successive concussions and injuries, Lindros' recent career was less than inspiring, as Eric looked to be a shadow of his former self. Afraid to play the physical game, Lindros became a very quite perimeter player, and didn't have much of an impact on the game, apart from some nifty Power Play playmaking. Instead of ending his career as a potential Hall of Famer, like he was destined to be, he went out with a whimper and with a Hall of Fame case that will cause many bar and kitchen table debates for years.
In other news ...
The NHL certainly had enough time to prepare a special backdrop for the occasion, given how long Modano took to get the deed done, something Willa Ford is probably used to as it is.
Gratuitous YouTube Embed: Thanks to 'Vakfan' for directing me to this cheeky video for our viewing pleasure. Watch as Slovak goalie Igor Murin pulls a fast one with a bit of his own rule bending, complete with a very amusing soundtrack. And no, the goal didn't count.