The debate is on for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010. The 18-member selection committee is already ramping up plenty of discussion about who’ll be in the Hall this round, with names like Joe Nieuwendyk’s getting batted around with frequency.
Another name on the list is that of Eric Lindros.
Held to only 760 National Hockey League games because of injuries, Lindros is a controversial pick for the Hall of Fame. For some, he’s a shoe-in because he put together 86 career points and helped Team Canada to gold in 2002. For others, his shortened career and lack of a Stanley Cup put him on the outside looking in.
The pessimists will say that Lindros was hardly a model player. He came on the scene feuding with management types, making his presence felt in less-than-flattering ways. Lindros refused to report to the junior Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds after being drafted and repeated the same treatment to the Quebec Nordiques after they picked him first in 1991.
But for some of those very management types, Lindros’ performance on the ice trumps anything he did or didn’t do off of it.
“Eric Lindros is a Hall of Famer,” said former NHL coach Jacques Demers. “There was a period of time when he was the best player in the NHL. He was dominating.”
Lindros has not many any public comments regarding possible Hall of Fame selection, but talk of Quebec and his attitude off the ice continues to bubble over in many hockey circles whenever his name is mentioned.
“I look at what a player accomplished on the ice,” said Demers. “I don’t hold a grudge. I can’t worry what people think that he didn’t go to Quebec City. He’s not Pete Rose. He didn’t disgrace the game. He was a dominating player – one of the best power forwards I’ve seen.”
The selection committee can pick up to four players, one official and one builder each year. This year will make history in that up to two women’s hockey players can be selected. There’s a considerable list of first-year eligibles this time out, with names like John LeClair, Peter Bondra, Tony Amonte, and Pierre Turgeon in the hunt.
There’s also the consideration that some overlooked players from other years will finally get their shot, like Doug Gimour or Pavel Bure.
The question of Lindros’ inclusion in the Hall becomes more controversial when one considers some of the players outside of it that aren’t in yet. Still, as short as Lindros’ career might have been and as difficult a human being he might have been off the ice, it’s hard to argue with the fact that he was a clearly dominant player.
Whether that dominance is Hall-worthy is, of course, another story.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.