Thursday, March 7, 2013
Born in London, Ontario in 1975, Brett Lindros played his junior hockey for the Kingston Frontenacs beginning in the 1992-93 season. The right winger competed in 31 games that season, scoring 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points while amassing 162 penalty minutes. During that same season he also skated for the Canadian National Team in another 11 games, during which he scored a goal and 6 assists.
In 1993-94, Lindros was once more a member of the Canadian National Team, a full season club which played a full season of games against both various national teams and club teams all over the world with the long term goal of preparing a cohesive team in preparation for the Olympics. The program lasted from 1983 until 1998, when the NHL began to shut down to allow it's players to compete in the Olympics.
In 44 games with the national team, Lindros scored 7 goals and 7 assists for 14 points. In addition the rugged forward was whistled for 118 penalty minutes. Aside from his time with the national team, Lindros also played 15 regular season and three playoff games with Kingston, scoring 4 goals and 6 assists.
At the conclusion of the season, Lindros was drafted 9th overall by the New York Islanders in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.
Due to the lockout of 1994, the NHL did not begin it's season on time, and Lindros remained in Kingston for the first 26 games of the season. His offensive game took a step forward, as he found his goal scoring touch and lit the lamp 24 times in 26 games. Additionally, he was credited with 23 assists for a total of 47 points, an average of nearly 2 per game (1.81) in anticipation of making his NHL debut.
With the labor issues finally settled, Lindros joined the Islanders and saw action in 33 of the Islanders 48 games. He scored his first NHL goal and added three assists and a dose of grit with 100 penalty minutes.
The next season Lindros played in just 18 games, scoring once with a pair of assists before being forced to retire due to repeated concussions, including a final one in November 1995 which ended his career at the age of 20 after just 51 NHL games with 2 goals and 5 assists.
"When I was playing I was having memory loss even on the bench," he said. "I'd get back to the bench and if I'd been out there sometimes I wouldn't remember what I did."
"What was scary for me was each time it took longer to resolve. My last concussion before my 20th birthday took eight or nine weeks."
Having already suffered several concussions in juniors, he had another occurrence during his rookie season and then finally two in eight days which led multiple doctors to advise him to quit hockey due to the possibility of blindness and permanent brain damage.
"No one has wanted to talk about concussions until recently, especially in hockey," Lindros said back in 1996.
That sentiment certainly has changed 15 years later as players, teams and doctors are much more aware and more cautious of concussions than when Lindros was forced to retire in 1995. Just recently the NHL has taken steps to penalize hits to the head in an effort to reduce concussions, while the IIHF has simply taken a no tolerance policy of hits to the head, stating "there is no such thing as a clean hit to the head", giving not only a major penalty, but ejecting and suspending for one game any player who makes contact above the shoulder pads and subjecting the offending player to further suspension upon review.
Today's featured jersey is a 1995-96 New York Islanders Brett Lindros jersey. Lindros' rookie season saw him wear the classic Islanders jersey as worn during their Stanley Cup dynasty of the 1980's during that jerseys final season.
The next year was the debut of the Islanders ill-fated "Fish Sticks" jersey, so named for the resemblance of the logo to the Gorton's brand of fish sticks. The jersey was adopted by the Islanders new owners, hoping for a fresh start after a very down period in the win column. Turmoil on the ice and with the roster did little to improve the Islanders prospects and the jersey became a focal point of fan unhappiness with the franchise, which was not helped by the jersey being mocked by rival fans, those of the New York Rangers in particular.
For a more detailed story on the Islanders "Fish Sticks" jersey, please see our earlier entry as part of our "Curious, Weird and Ugly" Collection.
Today's video section begins with Lindros first NHL goal, one of only two he would score.
Up next, Lindros being drafted 9th overall by the New York Islanders and donning the classic Islanders jersey worn during his first season.
Here is an interview with Lindros on a local Long Island morning news program promoting an Islanders players charity car wash. He also discusses the Islanders new "fisherman" jersey for a moment.
Finally, notorious dirty player Claude Lemieux, sitting on the Devils bench, slugs Lindros during a scuffle and draws Lindros' ire.