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Lindros to Leafs grows less likely


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 14, 2001

Flyers chairman Ed Snider has had it with with the Eric Lindros situation and, especially, dealing with the Maple Leafs.

Snider is convinced Toronto is low-balling trade offers for the disgruntled star because, well, maybe it really doesn't want him after all.

"Eric Lindros is an issue I am sick of," he said.

So sick he ordered general manager Bobby Clarke to stop negotiating with Toronto, the team with which Lindros wants to play.

The problem, Snider said, is that Toronto coach and general manager Pat Quinn really doesn't want the concussion-prone Lindros. That's why he reportedly has done no better than offer a package that features the unspectacular Yanic Perreault.

"Eric Lindros is an asset," Snider said. "I want to convert that asset into something that's going to help our team right now.

"Fed up is a strong way of putting it. But Toronto has had six weeks to do something and they haven't. What they've offered for Eric so far has been so pathetic, Bob (Clarke) has never bothered to take it to me for consideration."

The Philadelphia Daily News reported the Islanders made an "acceptable" trade offer for Lindros. But Lindros won't play for the struggling New Yorkers.

Lindros is in a tough spot, too. As a restricted free agent, any team signing him would have to fork over five first-round draft picks as compensation. If the Flyers do not deal his rights, the 27-year-old could sit out until he is 31 and becomes unrestricted.

"If we can't make a deal that we don't believe helps us, we'll just sit," Snider said in a radio interview. "I'd hate to have to do that because I think it's unfair to Eric. But Eric has to open his eyes to the fact that he's put us in an untenable position and we're not going to respond in a way that maybe he thinks we will."

Said Lindros: "I'm staying the course. Nothing has changed. This is between the Flyers and Leafs."

HEAD CASES: The Flames have lost eight players to concussions in less than a month. Six suffered concussions or experienced concussion-like symptoms in four games.

Brad Werenka went down Dec. 29 against Vancouver. Two days later Jason Wiemer and Marc Savard went down against Montreal. Toni Lydman and Oleg Saprykin were dinged Jan. 5 against the Kings. Denis Gauthier left the same game with dizziness after a cross-check to the face from Mathieu Schneider.

"I've never seen anything like this," defenseman Phil Housley told the Calgary Herald. "It's a freak situation. I just hope these aren't severe and we can be healthy for February and March."

SENSITIVE EAGLE: Now it can be told. Dallas goaltender Eddie Belfour left the team after arguing with coach Ken Hitchcock, who simply wanted him on the ice during an optional morning skate.

Belfour took the morning off. But when backup Marty Turco left the ice, the Stars had no one at which to shoot. The players complained. Hitchcock told Belfour to get on the ice. An argument ensued and Belfour said goodbye, though he has returned.

The explanation from the Stars was that Belfour was struggling with some "demons," the most significant of which was that his teammates have been too hard on him at times.

"We're not saying it's "Poor Eddie,' " Hitchcock said. "He's going to have to bear the brunt of a lot of things, and he already has. But you have to move on and you have to move in the right direction."

FAMILY MATTERS: The wife of Canucks defenseman Ed Jovanovski recently had a miscarriage and lost one of the couple's twin girls. In his first game back, Jovanovski scored in a 4-3 victory over Columbus. He raised his arms and looked skyward.

"I pointed up because one of my girls didn't make it and I wanted to show that I cared," he said.

STATE OF THE GAME: Red Wings wing Pat Verbeek said the NHL's crackdown on physical play has gone too far.

"I'm not saying you should allow sticks to the head of vicious two-hand whacks, but you've got to let the tough stuff be played," he said.

"That's when the best hockey comes out. The intensity of the games hasn't been to the same level just because of all the rules. With the way the game is called, I think at times if you hit a guy too hard, you're getting a penalty."

ODDS AND ENDS: Mario Lemieux said he wants to play "three, four, five more years if my body allows me to." ... The Panthers are negotiating with former Lightning forward Mike Sillinger on a contract extension. Sillinger is making $1-million this season. ... Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford told he would trade defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh by the end of the month. ... Blues forward Pavol Demitra, out since Dec. 30 with a bruised right retina, has received clearance to resume off-ice workouts. ... Colorado defenseman Adam Foote is out three months after shoulder surgery. ... The expansion Blue Jackets and Wild meet for the first times Monday in Columbus and Wednesday in Minnesota. The Wild was unbeaten in an expansion-record nine straight at home before Friday's 5-0 loss to the Avalanche.

- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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