Bobby Clarke versus Eric Lindros is one of the most infamous and heated feuds in hockey history. But could it be coming to an end this December?
Clarke seems to think so.
Prior to the Flyers hosting the Rangers at the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan. 2, there’ll be an alumni game on Dec. 31 in which both Clarke and Lindros will play as teammates. The two haven’t spoken since Clarke acrimoniously sent Lindros to the Rangers back in 2001, but the former Philly GM seems ready to let bygones be bygones.
“As far as I’m concerned, (the feud) is over,” Clarke told the Burlington County Times. “I couldn’t be bothered one way or the other. He helped the Flyers, why shouldn’t he be with the Flyers? I’m not mad at him. I’ll shake hands with him. It’s not going to affect my life one way or the other if he doesn’t (reciprocate).”
Yep, sounds like he’s totally over it. No hard feelings there.
To be fair, Clarke v. Lindros was one of the ugliest, nastiest personal feuds in NHL history. The fact that was played out in the media only made it worse, and probably played a large role in why it still resonates today.
If you’re unfamiliar with the gory details, here’s a fairly concise recap from CBC:
Eric Lindros won an NHL MVP award in 1995 and led the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup final in 1997, but he quicky fell out of favour with Flyers GM Bob Clarke, who publicly questioned the towering forward’s toughness as he missed time with concussion problems.
The feud boiled over in 1999 when Lindros suffered a collapsed lung during a game in Nashville. Flyers trainers failed to diagnose the injury and were ordered to put Lindros on a plane back to Philadelphia. Lindros got to hospital only at the insistence of his hotel roommate, Keith Jones, leading Lindros’ father to write the team a letter saying his son would be dead had he listened to the Flyers’ medical staff.
After being stripped of his captaincy the following year, Lindros refused to re-sign with Philadelphia in the summer of 2000 and demanded that Clarke trade his rights to Toronto. The GM refused and Lindros sat out the following season, during which a defiant Clarke said, “I don’t give a s— if [Lindros] plays another game.” Eventually, though, Clarke gave in and shipped Lindros to the New York Rangers.
Clarke has maintained it was Lindros and his family that had a problem with the Flyers, not the other way around.
“I haven’t spoken to him,’’ Clarke said. “When he first went to the Rangers, he wouldn’t speak to me. But no big deal. The Lindros family caused the Flyers a lot of grief. (Eric) was bitter at us. They were the ones who were resentful, not me.’’
For the record, Lindros has stated he’s ready to bury the hatchet.
“I can’t wait to get back there, see them and play for the fans again. Looks to be a great event,” The Big E said in an email to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. “It was very nice of Bob to say some of the things he has said, and I too look forward to catching up with him.”