ERIC AND THE FLYERS: MY TAKE

by Ron Spence

I have a simple take on Eric Lindros’ refusal to go to Philadelphia.

I don’t blame him.

I only met Eric twice. He used to come into Vancouver with the Flyers on New Year’s Eve.

The first time we met, the big TV boys were interviewing him, and I was patiently waiting to talk, and then a Philly’s media guy tried to brush me off.

Eric told the guy to take a hike, and then took the time to talk with me.

The next time, he had run over teammate, Paul Coffey who was taken to the hospital with a concussion. After the game, while we were talking to him, he had tears in his eyes.

I would have to say that Eric Lindros is a nice guy and a good person.

But, that’s not why I think he should avoid the Flyers’ reunion.

He wasn’t just badly treated. He was viciously slagged. And Ed Snider was dishonest in what he tried to do.

Clarke made comments like: “I don’t give a crap whether he ever plays again or if I ever see him again. All he ever did was cause aggravation to our team.”

And when Eric wanted to play with Toronto, Clarke said: “I don’t give a (expletive) about the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

On other occasions, Clarke said:

“All the controversies, Eric brings them on himself. [Philadelphia trainer] ‘John Worley wouldn’t treat Eric properly. I was going to put him on a plane to try to kill him.’ This kind of stuff never ends.”

Later, Clarke said:

“It’s always something. I don’t know where all this stuff comes from. But whatever happens with Eric turns into a controversy. This organization has been around for 30 years. We’ve had 600 or 700 players pass through, and this stuff never happened before.”

Now, Brian Burke has a cutting tongue. But, Bobby Clarke has a vicious tongue.

And Snider wasn’t much better.

He was kind of blaming Eric for his own life-threatening injury.

“You’ve got to know that something is wrong,” Snider said. “It isn’t up to external people to know what is going on inside your body. At some point, you’ve got to know, ‘I’ve got a real problem here. This is not a bruised rib or a cracked rib … None of that happened … It’s kind of a macho thing, but there’s a responsibility for being a macho-type person.”

“Even if he had [been told by Clarke to fly Lindros home],” Snider added, “would somebody think that Bob Clarke would overrule doctors, overrule trainers and say, ‘I want to kill Eric Lindros. I want him to die’? What are they thinking? There is no logic to it. There is zero logic to it … The whole … thing makes me crazy.”

But worse than Snider’s comments was his treachery. He urged a reporter to investigate a rumour that Eric’s collapsed lung had been caused by an automobile accident, and not by an on-ice hit during the game.

Why should Eric go back into that situation. He doesn’t deserve it.

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