In the late 90s, I was in college in Upstate NY. Many of the guys I hung out with were hockey fans. Some were Buffalo Sabres fans when they had Michael Peca and Dominik Hasek. A few were Rangers fans. One was a Blackhawks fan. And I actually roomed one year with a Penguins fan. That was the year that the Flyers went to 5OT in the playoffs.
We watched through the second overtime period, but we both had finals the next day for 8:30 classes and it was already way past midnight. What can I say, I was a responsible student. But one point of view was shared by all of them. They all hated Eric Lindros. They all said that he was a “Crybaby”, a “Punk, a “Punk a– b—-“, and a “Whiny Little S—“. With me being a Flyers fan, I shrugged it off as they were just jealous. They saw a generational talent and were upset that he wasn’t on their teams.
Then, a few years later, there was the big fallout with Bobby Clarke. Rumors abounded that Lindros demanded that some teammates got traded away, that Clarke trade for his friends, feuds in the locker room between Lindros and coaches/other players, etc. Whatever is true and whatever isn’t, it lead to an epic divorce that still shakes Flyers fans. He demanded to be traded. Eventually, he was sent to the Rangers for a mediocre package.
Lindros was billed as “The Next One”. He was going to be the next Wayne Gretzky and/or Mario Lemieux. He was a combination of size, speed, and ability. He was going to be the guy who finally brought the Flyers back to the Stanley Cup. And outside of the 1996-97 team, that never happened. And as we know injuries took their toll on him