What If? Eric Lindros had stayed in Quebec
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11-06-2012, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Originally Posted by
Of course, Gretzky didn't enter the league through the draft.
It was a technicality. Other than that, he is drafted like any other player. And he still signed an ill-advised contract when he was 18 just because his father encouraged him to do so because job security was important. This was the Edmonton Oilers, which were a team that was just as bad as Quebec was in 1991 when they entered the NHL.
Originally Posted by
What he obviously had earned was the interest of the NHL and that was enough at that point. Supply and demand: A player like Lindros has his price, potential bust or not. And the NHL was ready to pay the price.
The issue I have, is that more or less every single player before or since him has sat there, just excited to make the NHL and are happy to be picked by the team that chooses them. Crosby had to sit and wait for the NHL lottery to finish on live TV before he knew where he was playing. It was down to Anaheim and Pittsburgh and the entire NHL wanted him including his childhood team, Montreal. He could have pulled a Lindros and whined that the Habs (who chose 5th overall) should be where he deserved to go but he didn't. He faced the challenge of leading a franchise in ruins to a Cup. I can't remember which one of Lindros or Crosby won a Cup.............
The point is, Mario did a similar trick (not putting on the sweater at the draft) to the Pens that Lindros did. This was about his contract. The difference is Mario still played for the team that drafted him. He singlehandedly led that team to a Cup (with some help). To be honest, it took several years for Mario to really be forgiven by people for that little draft trick. That reputation followed him around for a long, long time until he won his Cups and he came back from cancer. Even then he had his critics. Lindros chose the path he took and it followed him his entire career, for good reason.
Completely disagree. It's a business relation and that's it. Turn the sentence around and it makes just as much sense: It's a priviledge and an honour for the NHL to have the best and most exciting players in the world in its arenas. That doesn't come for free and the NHL admitted it by chasing after Lindros.
Quebec had a gun held to their head. They had a kid who was not going to play for them - ever. An 18 year old kid. He went back to junior for crying out loud. He played in the Olympics. I've read his book, he was very prepared for a long holdout. Quebec HAD to trade him and it took them almost a year to finally give in. If I was an opposing team I'd have chased him too. But I think it is more a case of a team just throwing their hands up and saying "here you can have him" than the NHL enabling him.
That's a weird way to look at it IMO. With that line of thinking every unsatisfactory order in the world becomes indefeasible. Doug Harvey and Ted Lindsay want to set up a players union? How dare they think they are better and more entitled than the players who came before them! Even the all-time greats always had to obey the rules of the owners: how wrong of Harvey and Lindsay to think they're above them!
Setting up a player's union doesn't break any unspoken verbal contract though. In hindsight we know now that setting up a union was correct. 20 years later, barely anyone defends Lindros for his actions. Time has gone by on both counts and we've had time to dissect each of them. Most people still think Lindros was in the wrong and no one thinks Lindsay was. That tells you something.
That's another thing I disagree with. In your mind putting himself above the NHL Entry Draft is the same as putting himself above the game of hockey. NHL = Hockey. Not so. Lindros didn't put himself above hockey, he only put himself above the business rules of one hockey league.
He still had the feeling of entitlement and he had absolutely no reason to feel that. Well, maybe he did because his parents certainly raised him to think everything could go his way. But it doesn't make it right either. The thing that has always bothered me is that he didn't even TRY Quebec at all. My goodness, compare him to Peter Stastny. He defected from his country at a high risk in order to come over here. He played the bulk of his career in Quebec. He learned French and he can speak it darn good (as well as English). He is a HHOFer which no one doubts. He didn't sit there and say "Well what is in it for ME?" He understood the honour of playing in the greatest league in the world. The character of these two players is vastly different.
Last edited by Big Phil: 11-06-2012 at
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