no, not me, i still have miles to go before i sleep. i'm actually talking about the bus driver on my transit bus this morning. today is his last day and he retires to an RV and travelling in and around Florida. why bring this up? well, there was a retirement in the hockey world that has mixed up some pretty mirky opinion of late. Eric "the next one" Lindros hung them up officially yesterday after a 13 year career. he was never the best player on the planet although he did manage to win the Hart trophy once, i think that over his best years that the best player on the planet was none other than Mario Lemieux.
does he belong in the Hall of Fame? that seems to be a major question of late and quite frankly, it's a tiring question. if he meant something to you as a hockey fan then you undoubtedly think he belongs in the hall. if he doesn't mean something to you as a fan then perhaps he doesn't. i think if you look at the stats then you have to allow him in but at the same time there are peripheral stuff that always pissed me off about him so i'm not quite so sure that if i had a vote (and i don't) that i'd write his name down.
i remember when he was an Oshawa General and i was a regular attendee of the Kitchener Rangers games. it was 1990 and he single-handedly eliminated the Rangers to advance to the Memorial Cup. i got to see him absolutely destroy the Rangers' captain Steven Rice in an open ice bodycheck that i didn't think Rice would ever get up from and i knew then, Lindros would be special.
he forced a trade from Sault Ste. Marie to his hometown Oshawa team rather than play where he didn't want to play and that was to become a common theme for Eric. he wouldn't play in Quebec (he should've, just imagine that team later with both Sakic, Eric and Sundin to go with some passing stars at the end of their careers) and forced a trade anywhere else. i remember being annoyed that anyone could think they were bigger than the entire system before they had earned the right to choose what earth they were planted in. he was traded to Philly and NYR on the same day, a move which eventually doomed the Nordiques franchise and made them look bush, but i say that Eric needs to take some of the blame for the mess that was those trade sessions. he eventually was moved to Philly where he along with Leclair and Renberg formed what was probably the most dangerous line of the '90s. the first half of the '90s belonged to him and his cronies. "he lived and died by the sword" as i read someone else blog about him today. he threw bodies around, and it wasn't always his own body that got tossed about like it was a toy sailboat on the ocean. unfortunately, that was his downfall.
the brain inside a skull moves about as it is impacted upon. there's real truth to the metaphor of getting your brains scrambled, that's pretty much what happens with a concussion, it's like whisking an egg inside your skull. i mention this because i still remember the hit that Eric absorbed from Scott Stevens in the playoffs. he had just come back from concussion related stuff and Stevens absolutely crushed him crossing the blueline with his head down. it was one of those shots that brings you right out of your seat, and that's exactly what happened to me. Stevens was seen very emotional between periods knowing that he may've just ended E's career, and well Eric wasn't the same after that hit. he moved on to the Rangers and wasn't the same. he signed with the Leafs and the Stars and wasn't even close to the same.
so ... to the question then: does Eric belong in the Hall? who cares? if you thought he was great (and for a while i thought he was great) then he belongs in the Hall. if you didn't think he was great and was a bit of a tool (and for a while i thought this of him too) then maybe he doesn't belong in the Hall. in the end, does it really matter to me? no. i'm still a fan and he did give me enjoyment over the course of 13 seasons.
he'll get in the Hall. i may not love him like i've read some bloggers and their man-crushes but he gave me enjoyment of the game as a fan. that's enough for me. fit him for a plaque.