How Eric Lindros Helped Spark a Culture Change in the NHL

How Eric Lindros Helped Spark a Culture Change in the NHL

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It was 1998 when Eric Lindros appeared on the cover of the inaugural
issue of ESPN the Magazine along with Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, and Kordell
Stewart. They were dubbed “the Next Ones”in their respective sports.

The mag is celebrating its 15th year in existence with their
May 13th issue, and in their look back on Lindros, David Fleming finds No. 88
did change hockey and sports as we know them – just not in the way we imagined.
Fleming details the superstar center’s history with concussions, and how his once
highly-criticized actions helped affect change in the way concussions are
viewed and handled.

Last season about 90 NHL players
(or 13 percent of the league) missed games with concussions, including former
playoff MVP Jonathan
Toews. The simple truth is that there may not be a way to wipe out
concussions completely in violent contact sports like football and hockey. So
what Lindros did was the next best thing: He stood up to hockey's insidious
play-through-it culture. As a result, players today will tell you they feel
less obligated to hide or downplay a brain injury or postconcussion symptoms --
a mindset that protects them far more than any helmet or rule ever could.

"It's unfortunate what Lindros
dealt with throughout his career," says Maple Leafs defenseman
John-Michael Liles, who missed 16 games in 2011-12 following a concussion.
"But I think that one of the things everyone knows now, if there's a possibility
that you got your bell rung pretty well, it's, 'Hey, we need to take a couple
of days and see.' "

"Not so crazy now, was
I?" Lindros says, before catching himself. "But you want to give me
credit? I hate the idea of that more than anything. That poster boy s -- ? No.
No thanks."

A lot of the story you already know. Lindros suffered
multiple concussions during his time with the Flyers, which at the time was a
common condition for athletes to play through. His refusal to do so created a
rift both with fans and inside the organization.

The profile also covers some aspects that are not so widely publicized,
including details of Lindros’ life after hockey. He’s tried to remain involved
in the battle, donating millions for research and speaking to medical students
about his first-hand experiences. It doesn’t always comes as easily for Lindros
as things seemed to on the ice, as he also discussed some disappointment from
his time working hand-in-hand with the NHLPA on the issue.

The good news is Lindros himself isn’t experiencing
long-term effects associated with brain injuries, and is described as strong
and sharp. Actually, he looked like he could’ve put on a uniform and helped the
Flyers at the Winter Classic Alumni Game in 2011.

We don’t talk about it often here, but obviously concussions
have been at the forefront in the NHL and NFL especially for a few years now.
Some of the research is still very new, but there is no escaping the fact that
these sports are going to continue to change and grow over the next few years
and decades. It’s not how Lindros wants to or should be remembered, but he
helped spark the movement.

>> Lindros redefined NHL’s culture of playing through injuries
[ESPN]

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Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders are on quite a nice roll.

Anders Lee scored two power-play goals to lead the Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, giving New York its third straight win and fourth in the last five games.

"We've been keeping it simple of late," said Lee, who has four goals in two games against the Kings this season. "We've been getting shots on net and being more effective. I'll do my thing down low."

John Tavares had a goal and an assist, Jason Chimera also scored and Jean-Francois Berube stopped 34 shots to earn his first win in his third start of the season (see full recap).

Hartnell snaps tie as Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Blue Jackets would just as soon forget the second period of Saturday's game, when the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it.

Columbus didn't play much better in the third but withstood 15 shots and killed three penalties. Midway through, Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game , and the Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2.

Columbus got the win despite being outshot 37-20.

Hartnell scored in the first period and then netted the tiebreaker, helping the Blue Jackets overcome a horrendous second period - in which they managed only two shots on goal - to beat Carolina for the second time this week (see full recap).

Beagle scores in overtime, Capitals beat Stars 4-3
DALLAS -- Jay Beagle scored 19 seconds into overtime and the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Saturday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov skated behind the net and put the puck in front to Beagle. His wrist shot beat goalie Kari Lehtonen, who got tangled with a defender and lost his footing.

The Stars led 3-1 and didn't allow Washington a power play until the third period, but then Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie scored with the man advantage in the first 5:26 of the period.

Adam Cracknell and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas on plays that originally were ruled no goal. Patrick Eaves had a goal and an assist for the Stars (see full recap).

Bogosian scores in overtime, Sabres edge Canadiens 3-2
MONTREAL -- The Sabres couldn't score from in close on All-Star goalie Carey Price late in regulation Saturday night.

So Zach Bogosian teed it up from a ways out in overtime to lift Buffalo.

Bogosian scored his first goal of the season in overtime and the Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams.

Buffalo nearly broke through against Price near the end of the third period. Price made a pad save on Matt Moulson on a breakaway at 19:40, and then with six seconds remaining, he robbed Rasmus Ristolainen with a windmill glove save (see full recap).

 

Best of NBA: Kawhi Leonard scores 41, Spurs down Cavaliers in OT

Best of NBA: Kawhi Leonard scores 41, Spurs down Cavaliers in OT

CLEVELAND -- Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 41 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-115 in overtime on Saturday night despite missing starters Tony Parker and Pau Gasol.

Leonard scored six in OT, including a game-sealing dunk with 4.9 seconds left, as the Spurs regrouped after a late collapse in regulation.

David Lee, making a rare start in place of the injured Gasol, added 14 points as San Antonio improved to 18-4 on the road.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 29 apiece for the Cavs, who had the last shot in regulation and had plenty of opportunities in the extra five minutes. Cleveland still had a chance to tie it in the final second of overtime, but Kevin Love missed a 3-pointer (see full recap).

Lillard, McCollum carry Portland to OT win over Boston
BOSTON -- Damian Lillard had a three-point play with 47 seconds left in overtime and finished with 28 points to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 127-123 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, snapping their four-game losing streak.

CJ McCollum scored 35 points to lead Portland, which lost in the closing seconds in Philadelphia on Friday night. Lillard added seven assists.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 41 points, his 14th time this season with 30 or more points. Marcus Smart and Al Horford each scored 17 for the Celtics, who have lost two straight after winning 13 of 16.

Thomas nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:24 to play in OT, pushing Boston ahead by one, but Al-Farouq Aminu was fouled on the next possession and hit both free throws to move Portland back in front.

Lillard then drove the lane, was fouled and hit the free throw. Mason Plumlee had a short jumper in the lane and a free throw in the closing 24 seconds (see full recap).

Booker scores 26 as Suns edge Knicks 107-105
NEW YORK -- Devin Booker scored 26 points and made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, and the Phoenix Suns beat the New York Knicks 107-105 on Saturday night.

Carmelo Anthony's attempt at a winning 3-pointer rimmed out as Phoenix snapped a two-game losing streak and handed New York its second loss in a row.

Eric Bledsoe added 23 points for the Suns, while P.J. Tucker and Marquese Chriss each had 15.

Anthony led the Knicks with 31 points, Derrick Rose had 26 and Kristaps Porzingis scored 14 (see full recap).

Dekker scores career-best 30 leading Rockets past Grizzlies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Sam Dekker scored a career-high 30 points, James Harden added 29 points and 10 assists and the Houston Rockets leaned on their usual 3-point offense to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 119-95 on Saturday night.

Eric Gordon added 21 points as the Rockets built the lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter before easily coasting home.

Dekker, making his first career start in place of the ill Ryan Anderson, made 12 of 19 shots, including 6 of 11 from outside the arc. Houston shot 51 percent overall and 38 percent from distance.

Marc Gasol scored 32 points and Mike Conley added 15 for the Grizzlies, who lost for the third time in the last four.

Memphis struggled shooting the entire night, finishing at 37 percent and unsuccessfully tried to follow the Rockets' long-range attack but converted only 9 of 34 from outside the arc (see full recap).