Why? Lindros is a “perfect storm” for what the HHOF does and does not like. They put a tremendous amount of importance on winning one or more Stanleys, which is reflected in the fact that 15 Toronto Maple Leafs from the 1960s Cup teams are in the Hall (you can look it up, but here are the names: Al Arbour, George Armstrong, Andy Bathgate, Johnny Bower, Dick Duff, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Dickie Moore, Bert Olmstead, Marcel Pronovost, Bob Pulford, Terry Sawchuk, Allan Stanley). I could include Gerry Cheevers to make it even more incredible, but in the interest of fairness a few of the names (Olmstead, Moore) belong to another era.
Lindros also had some rebel in him, and in a league like the NHL a guy like Lindros is going to pay for it for a long, long time. Last night I saw a tsn between period conversation that included Bob McKenzie, Mike Milbury and Bobby Clarke. Milbury said he shouldn’t get in (Milbury is an outstanding tv personality btw, I mean it’s incredible), McKenzie said he should and then Clarke was left to break the tie.
Clarke said on ability alone he should be in, and then proceeded to bury him. Again. Hey, I don’t know Eric Lindros from a load of hay. But I’ll tell you in the years between his draft day and this one I always hoped he’d be an Oiler and knew he could help any team win hockey games. He was an exceptional player whose combination of skills were varied and elite, and he delivered big time. His ppg total (1.27 over 760gp) in the deadball era was as impressive to see as it is to contemplate now that his run is through.
Eric Lindros had an achilles and it was exposed again and again, but only after he established himself as a worthy Hall of Famer in the “peak value” category. I invite arguments to the contrary, but you better pack a lunch because it’s going to take you all day.