Lindros: 'Game's gotten too fast'

Former NHL star Eric Lindros gives some tips to Kingston Frontenacs forward Darcy Greenaway after...

Former NHL star Eric Lindros gives some tips to Kingston Frontenacs forward Darcy Greenaway after Tuesday's junior team practice in Kingston. Lindros was getting some of the rust out before he plays for the Philadelphia Flyers in Saturday's Winter Classic alumni game in Philly. (IAN MACALPINE/ QMI AGENCY)

IAN MACALPINE, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:03 PM ET

Eric Lindros skated with the Kingston Jr. Frontenacs Tuesday while preparing to play with other retired Philadelphia Flyers in Saturday’s Winter Classic alumni game in Philly.

Lindros was known to have an acrimonious relationship with Bob Clarke, the Flyers’ general manager at the time Lindros was team captain but he accepted an invitation from the team to play in the game at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.

“I haven’t talked to Bobby but I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Lindros said Tuesday.

“(Current general manager) Paul Holmgren gave me a phone call a while back and invited me out.”

Lindros might find Clarke as a linemate, since he’s also scheduled to play in the game. Both of their photos appear on a publicity poster for the game.

If Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is the face of the concussion issue today Lindros was the poster boy in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

In all Lindros had about eight concussions in his NHL career and he has some thoughts on why the issue is so prevalent now.

“The game’s has gotten too fast,” he said outside the Frontenacs’ dressing room after his one-hour morning session.

That speed comes at a price for the players’ safety, he said.

“The red line is out and the game’s quicker. It’s inevitable there’s going to be more (concussions). They knew that when they took the red line out. So they sacrificed that for speed.”

Lindros hopes the issue stays in the forefront.

“There have been a number of good articles and related material that truly point to the direction of playing safe, and not just looking at our game but other games and seeing what can be avoided.”

Lindros donated $5 million to the London Health Sciences Centre upon his retirement in 2007 for concussion research. It is believed to be among the largest donations to the health centre and also one of the largest donations to any cause by a Canadian athlete.

“There’s going to be concussions,” Lindros said. “What we can do is, as soon as it happens, make sure to give the player every chance to get back on the ice as quickly as possible but to be the 100% they’re accustomed to.”

Lindros scored 372 goals and 865 points in only 760 NHL games. He also averaged over a point per game in the playoffs, getting 24 goals and 57 points in 53 Stanley Cup matches.

He was also captain of the 1998 Canadian Olympic hockey team and won a gold medal with the 2002 team in Salt Lake City but he never won a Stanley Cup.

After retiring, Lindros worked as an ombudsmen for the National Hockey League Players Association for a couple of years but he now dedicates his time to a non-hockey venture.

He’s involved with ClevrU, a technology company out of Waterloo that specializes in the field of distance learning through mobile devices using e-teaching technology.

imacalpine@thewhig.com

twitter.com/ianmacalpine

 


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