Former Philadelphia Flyers Bob Clarke and Eric Lindros to Shake Hands; Part of Me Saddened

Former Philadelphia Flyers captains Bob Clarke and Eric Lindros may put an end to their ten-year feud at the Winter Classic Alumni Game and part of me is saddened by this.

When Clarke was the GM in Philadelphia him and Lindros butted heads many times but according to Phillyburbs.com Clarke is ready to move on.  “As far as I’m concerned, (the feud) is over,’’ Clarke said. “I couldn’t be bothered one way or the other. He helped the Flyers, why shouldn’t he be with the Flyers (in the alumni game)?’’

Before I get to why this bothers me a bit here is a summary of the feud from a CBC article on top sports feuds:

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.

First let me say it will be cool to see them shake hands and put an end to this feud but part of me doesn’t want to see that.  I ask who doesn’t love a great feud where two sides just can’t stand each other?  Would you want to see Duke and UNC be buddies in college hoops or Ohio State and Michigan be friends in college football?  Of course you don’t you love to watch those two sides battle it out, just knowing they can’t stand each other.

Anyone that was a Flyers fans during this time had chosen a side whether you thought Clarke was a stubborn old man who needed to be let go or that Big E was a crybaby with daddy issues.  Honestly, growing up at the time I was on the side of Clarke and started to dislike Lindros immensely but as I got older I saw the whole picture and have respected Eric a great deal more.

“I’m not mad at him,’’ Clarke insisted. “I’ll shake hands with him. It’s not going to affect my life one way or the other if he doesn’t (reciprocate).’’

Part of me wants to see them jawing at each other on December 31 and let me relive a small part of my childhood.  I know there is a small part deep down in all of you that would like to see it.  Like Darth Vader told Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Backs “Search your feelings, you know it to be true.”

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