NEW YORK — Eric Lindros will become immortalized by the Flyers before Thursday’s home game against Toronto.
The big center’s No. 88 will be retired in a ceremony prior to the game. He will become the sixth Flyer to have his number retired, joining Bernie Parent (No. 1), Mark Howe (2), Barry Ashbee (4), Bill Barber (7), and Bobby Clarke (16).
“I’m very excited and deeply honored,” Lindros, 44, said in a text message before he was scheduled to take part in a “Skate with 88” event in West Chester on Tuesday night.
He will attend the Flyers’ practice in Voorhees on Wednesday morning.
Lindros, who went into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016, combined size and skill that had not been seen in the NHL. Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds idolized Lindros when he was growing up and said it will be a privilege to be at Thursday’s ceremony.
“He’s a Hockey Hall of Famer and it’s going to be an honor to get to watch his number go the rafters at the Wells Fargo,” Simmonds said.
When he was younger, Simmonds said he “always used the Lindros curve on my Bauer stick; he was the prototypical power forward back in the day. He was fun to watch. He could do it every way. He could score, he could out-skill anybody. He could go right through you. Whatever type of game you guys wanted to play, he would try to outclass you.”
And he usually did.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Lindros won one Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP and finished in the top 10 five times. He ended a long feud with Flyers management – it centered on the medical treatment he received — when he appeared in the 2011 Winter Classic alumni game at Citizens Bank Park and patched things up with his former general manager, Clarke, who years earlier had been in a very public spat with the player known as “Big E.”
Simmonds said he tried to model his game after Lindros’ “a little bit, but I really don’t have the skill level of Eric Lindros. But I definitely take certain parts of my game from him, for sure – the physicality, the way he got to the net and the way he did things, physically.”
After sitting out three games, speedy left winger Taylor Leier returned to the lineup Tuesday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Leier, who has one goal in 31 games, replaced Tyrell Goulbourne, one of the Flyers’ scrappier wingers. Leier had been a healthy scratch in five of the last six games.
Scott Laughton centered Leier and Jori Lehtera (0 goals in 25 games) on the fourth line.
Coach Dave Hakstol will pick his spots with Goulbourne.
Brian Elliott made his 18th start in the last 19 games….Robert Hagg entered the night with 142 hits, second in the NHL. He was second among NHL rookies in blocked shots (59) and average time on ice per game (18 minutes, 49 seconds).