Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Becomes restricted free agent
By LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun
BARRIE -- The contractual cat and mouse game between Eric Lindros
and Bob Clarke had one more episode to play last night.
Lindros -- who announced yesterday morning he would wait
until "December or January" to try to come back from his fourth
concussion in five months -- has rejected the Philadelphia Flyers'
$8.5-million US qualifying offer.
By doing so, Lindros becomes a restricted free agent. The Flyers can
still match any offer to Lindros, and are entitled to compensation if
he leaves as a Group 2 free agent.
But Lindros has put himself in a better bargaining position to
scuttle any trade or refuse to sign any offer sheet. Even though the
Flyers retain his negotiating rights, Lindros is without a contract
and could set his own asking price.
"Yes, there's some argument it gives us more (leverage)," Lindros
family lawyer Gordon Kirke said early this morning. "But it's not our
main reason (for rejecting the offer.) This wasn't an easy decision
Kirke had scheduled a news conference for today.
Lindros is aware of the Maple Leafs' interest in him, at least at
the board of directors level.
"There are a lot of teams out there and Toronto is one of them,"
Lindros said. "They've got scoring and one of the best -- if not the
best -- goaltender in the league. They've added a lot of grit with
those two (Shayne Corson and Gary Roberts)."
Lindros dragged his feet on announcing his decision and by 10 p.m.,
general manager Clarke had disappeared for the night and assistant
Paul Holmgren abandoned his post by the fax machine in the Flyers
Many expected Lindros to sign the lucrative deal in time, even
though Clarke had put in an insulting clause that pays Lindros
$85,000 if he clears waivers to play in the minors.
Before teeing off in the IOF Foresters Kids Classic golf tournament
yesterday at National Pines -- where $50,000 was raised for the
Hospital for Sick Children -- Lindros confirmed a second neurologist
has advised him to wait until mid-season to resume contact hockey.
"I know that if I jump back in, I'm playing with fire," Lindros
said. "I feel disappointed at the time line, but at the same time
thankful (that his career isn't done). I feel better every day. I've
been worried a long time."
Lindros had been sitting on his latest test results from Chicago
specialist James Kelly, waiting to compare them with a recent visit
to a Montreal neurologist. He says they validate Kelly's findings and
"I was told to get a second opinion," Lindros said. "She (the
Montreal doctor) ran a lot of the same tests. It's the same thing.
That was nice to hear."
Lindros has spent the past two months undergoing acupuncture and
cranial massage treatments. He reportedly has taken out a $20-million
US personal insurance policy this season that kicks in if he tries to
come back and fails.