The Big E Returns
It's been a long time coming for Flyers fans, who have not seen #88 skate in an orange and black jersey for the past decade.
The wait will finally end on New Years Eve when Eric Lindros will return to Philadelphia to play in the Winter Classic Alumni Game. It will mark the first time since being traded in the summer of 2001 to the New York Rangers that #88 will don a Flyers jersey, making it the last jersey he will ever wear.
This is more than just a return for Lindros. It marks a decade of silence and uneasiness between Lindros and Flyers legend Bobby Clarke, who was the GM he dealt the Big E to rival New York.
But Clarke is no longer the GM for the Flyers and it was Paul Holmgren who gave Lindros the call and invited him to return for one more skate in the City of Brotherly Love.
“Eric had a tremendous career for the Flyers,” Holmgren told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun. “All the guys we’ve called to come back and play and have all been excited for the opportunity. We’re going to try to make it a great event. I’m looking forward to seeing Eric and a lot of these other guys. It’s going to be nice.”
Lindros is one third of the infamous "Legion of Doom" line that reeked havoc in the NHL between 1995 and 1997.
Another third of the party, John LeClair, was confirmed to be playing the Alumni game as well.
The Elwood and Jake Blues of the Flyers is getting the band back together. It would be poetic justice if Lindros is on the phone with the Swedish right-winger, Mikael Rengerg, telling him, "We're on a mission from God."
Renberg is currently in school getting a degree in physical therapy as well as a hockey commentator for a Swedish TV station called STV. Holmgren did say he talked to Renberg but hasn't gotten a confirmation yet though Renberg said he would like to return as well.
During the three years the Legion was together, the trio combined for 305 goals, 361 assists, and 631 penalty minutes.
LeClair scored a career high 97 points in both 1995-96 and 1996-97 season. In the strike-shortened 1994-95 season, Lindros tallied a league high 70 points (29 goals, 41 assists). That won him the Hart Trophy (MVP) as well as the Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Hockey Player).
The "Legion of Doom" may not be the only famous Flyers line to return to form on December 31. Holmgren said he would like to have both the Legion and LCB lines back in action.
“That’s the plan, though: to have Eric’s line back together, as well as Clarkey’s line with [Reggie] Leach and [Bill] Barber and other famous lines in Flyers history,” said Holmgren.
Hockeybuzz's Bill Metzer said the LCB line has already been skating every morning to prepare for the game, tweeted CSN's Tim Panaccio.
It will be a wonderful even for both young and old fans, the former looking to get a taste of Flyers hockey from the Cup-winning days to the passionate fans who have been around for 40-plus years hoping to get one final glimpse of their favorite Flyers legends out on the ice.
“It should be a good time,” added Lindros.
Dan MacNeal of "Crimespree Hockey" wrote up a post filled with some fan reactions to the Legion of Doom's possible reunion. Check it out here.
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