Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A big night for the Big E

As the husband of the world's No. 1 Eric Lindros fan, I would be remiss if I did not take note of a very special event last night.

Eric Lindros is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Finally.

The Big E was inducted into the Hall in his home town of Toronto last night, along with a posthumous honor for former Flyers coach Pat Quinn.

Eric Lindros was a big guy.

I got a feel for that on the several occasions when I accompanied my wife to the annual Flyers Carnival fundraiser, which they started as a way to raise money in the fight against cancer after the loss of defenseman Barry Ashbee to the dreaded disease. My wife would always pay for a photo taken with her favorite player. That would be Mr. Lindros.

Eric would always be seated in a booth so you never really got a chance to see just how big he was until he stood up. He literally filled up the room.

Put him on skates and you have a condo on ice.

It was his size, coupled with his agility and speed, that allowed Lindros to revolutionize the game. Simply put, no one that size had ever been able to move like that on the ice, something akin to a runaway locomotive.

I finally got a real feel for just how big Lindros was a few years ago. When he returned to Philly for an alumni game as part of the Winter Classic, he and LeClair did an autograph signing at the Granite Run Mall. Yes, there was still such a thing as Granite Run Mall back then. I asked my wife if she wanted to go. I didn't have to wait long for an answer.

We stood on a line that snaked through the mall for almost two hours before we finally got up to the table where Lindros and LeClair was sitting.

I extended my hand to Lindros and informed him I was married to his biggest fan. He seemed to get a chuckle out of it. Then he grasped my hand - and suddenly mine disappeared. I have never encountered a hand quite like that. It was simply huge, just swallowing up my hand. That's when I realized why that wrist shot was so magical.

Unfortunately, that size also led to a very bad habit, which turned out to be his Achilles heel. Since he seemingly always towered over everyone else on the ice from the time he was a kid, Lindros got into the habit of skating full speed ahead with his head down.

That made him a target. And he has the series of concussions to prove it.

It was a hit from New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens that effectively ended Lindros' career. He never played for the Flyers again, and was only a shell of the player he once was after that.

During his acceptance speech last night, Lindros thanked his linemates, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, who formed maybe the most feared line in the NHL, the "Legion of Doom."

He also honored his brother Brett, whose career was cut short by the same concussion maladies that dogged Eric.

Congratulations, Eric. From one solitary news editor. And, of course, his better half, your No. 1 fan.

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