If there were a Hall of Fame for the entitled and the egotistical, Eric Lindros would be a consensus first-ballot selection.
But instead, Lindros’ name will be much debated heading towards Tuesday’s announcement of the newest members of the Hockey Hall.
Like most things about Lindros, there are all kinds of opinions.
There are those adamant that he is Hall worthy in his first time being eligible. There are those just as adamant that he is not.
For almost every two games he played in his career, he missed one to injury and yet he managed to score 865 points in 760 games. His career is not easily compartmentalized and there is a ‘yeah, but’ in just about every sentence. He was dominant early in his career, an afterthought late in his career. He was a superb regular-season player in his first seven seasons but never a Stanley Cup champion, only once having a monster playoff.
There are all the numbers, and yet there is the other side.
The Lindros who was problematic. The player who required attention from his opponents and his own team.
He wouldn’t get my vote, but there are many I respect who would vote his way.
His whole life in hockey has been a tempest: The Hall of Fame selection, either way, will be no different.
This and that
If hockey was more like baseball, and you had a Hall of Fame ballot instead of a silent committee, my votes this year would go to Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour and the long-overlooked Doug Wilson, Mark Howe and Rogie Vachon ... And the betting is from that group, only Nieuwendyk is expected to get the nod on Tuesday ... No surprise that St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong stole Jaroslav Halak from the Montreal Canadiens. Armstrong is one of the underspoken, sharp, solid, people in hockey. In five years in Dallas before being inexplicably removed, his teams averaged 104 points a year ... The dean of all hockey writers, Red Fisher, has spoken. He has obliterated the Canadiens for the Halak deal and the dean doesn’t obliterate often ... What the dean didn’t say: The Habs could miss the playoffs next season ... The difference between Toronto and Boston: Toronto boos all returning ex-players, no matter what the circumstances. Boston gave Manny Ramirez a huge ovation upon his return ... Mike Cammalleri and Danny Briere, 1-2 in playoff goal scoring, were 45th and 46th in scoring during the regular season.
Hear and there
A note for the chest-thumpers who believe hockey needs fighting: The Chicago Blackhawks did not have a single fight in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Philadelphia Flyers had one in four rounds and you can thank Dan Carcillo for that. The game is at its best when nobody drops the gloves ... Is it just me, or is it starting to feel as though LeBron James will stay in Cleveland and Dwyane Wade will stay in Miami, and Chris Bosh will end up playing with one of them? Or maybe not .... What happened to the outdoor lacrosse Toronto Nationals? Last year, champions. This year, winless ... Good last-minute gift for the hockey dad on Father’s Day: Bob McKenzie’s book, Hockey Dad ... Expect fired Flyers’ coach John Stevens to replace Mark Hardy on the coaching staff of the Los Angeles Kings ... Three slowest Blue Jays of all time: 1. Bengie Molina (but don’t tell him); 2. Rico Carty; 3. Buck Martinez. And all of them could play .... A standing O for the retiring Rob Blake, a real pro who made every team he played for better because of it ... At 4-5 and 4.97, Brandon Morrow’s numbers seem a whole lot uglier than what he’s accomplished as a Blue Jay. Morrow is starting to look like Alex Anthopoulos’ steal of the summer.
Scene and heard
Because everything seemed better when you were 12 years old, I was much more interested in the San Francisco Giants when Juan Marichal was pitching and Willie Mays and Willie McCovey were hitting than I am now that Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are pitching and Aubrey Huff is hitting ... The big mismatch in the very mean and physical NBA Finals turned out to be Pau Gasol against Kevin Garnett. Gasol almost doubled Garnett in rebounds 77-41 in the series, destroying him 18-3 in Game 7 ... There was only one problem with Ron Artest thanking his psychiatrist in the excitement of the NBA Finals celebration. He doesn’t see a psychiatrist. He sees a sports psychologist ... The Canadian television audience, which peaked at 1.7 million on TSN, proves there is a place for NBA in Canada. Not a huge place, but a place ... Can anybody explain to me why the NHL has a Final but the NBA has a Finals? ... Has anybody told Roy Halladay that the Blue Jays have more wins than the Phillies? ... Yep, it has come to this for JaMarcus Russell. He’s hoping to catch on with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League? Wasn’t that Alan Alda’s team in Paper Lion?
And another thing
Nobody in their right mind would leave Aaron Hill (.193) and Adam Lind (.204) hitting second and third with the Blue Jays. But Cito Gaston does it every day: And he won a ball game Saturday because of it ... The should-have-been hero of the U.S. comeback win over Slovenia (which ended up as a questionable tie) Maurice Edu was once a first-round draft pick of Toronto FC ... Ken Holland doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, but he’s made two recently with the Detroit Red Wings: 1. Giving up too early on Ville Leino; 2. Re-signing Todd Bertuzzi again. Quick trivia question: Post Steve Moore, name a team Bertuzzi has made better. Answer: None ... I give up, why would the image-craved NHL sign up noted hockey hater/comedian Jay Mohr to host its annual awards show? Was Alan Thicke otherwise engaged? ... Dammit, the very good website — lastminutegolfer.com — for those of us looking for bargains in an expensive sport, has been replaced by the not-so-friendly golfnow.com. The deals have all but disappeared ... Good for the GTHL and minor-hockey kids and parents, getting rid of that ridiculous two-year card. Now can we end the game-playing and release issues? ... Happy Birthday to Len Dawson (75), Anne Murray (65), John Ogrodnick (51), James Koko B. Ware (53), Patrick O’Bryant (24) and Cyndi Lauper (57) ...And hey, whatever became of Ernie DiGregorio?
Hard to score in Kaberle deal
Brian Burke is hoping to get a relatively young scoring winger in a deal for Tomas Kaberle.
And that is going to be a challenge of sorts.
The highest-scoring wingers available are expensive free agents like Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrick Marleau.
Maybe available in a trade is Alexander Semin, who plays wing and centre, but he’s as much a problem as he is a solution.
Jeff Carter may be available again, but with Philadelphia landing Dan Hamhuis, they don’t have any need for Kaberle.
Which leaves what?
An overpriced, underproductive Nathan Horton?
Maybe Dustin Penner?
The market is thin for 30-goal scorers or those capable of that number.
Dealing Kaberle has always been a challenge: It may be more of one now.
The end of Waterloo football
The scattering of the Waterloo Warriors has begun in earnest, signalling one of the saddest periods in Canadian university sports history.
More than half of their near-40 recruits have landed university and football placements elsewhere.
Now comes the coaches recruiting game: Students looking for places, coaches looking for new players.
In the advantageous seat is Wilfrid Laurier University, right next door, where football players who have signed leases for the coming year can find a place to play if academic programs can be coordinated without complications.
The ridiculous part of this ridiculous decision — Waterloo says it will play football next year.
Good luck to what will be left of its program.