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Trade Deadline Bypasses Lindros

Hockey: Blues make deal but it doesn't involve unsigned Flyer.

March 14, 2001|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Philadelphia Flyer General Manager Bob Clarke didn't do Eric Lindros any favors Tuesday. Lindros remained the property of the Flyers, an unsigned restricted free agent with a history of concussions who won't play again in the NHL until next season at the earliest.

The league's trading deadline passed at noon PST Tuesday without Clarke making a deal with either the St. Louis Blues or Toronto Maple Leafs.

"All along we felt that we weren't going to be able to trade Lindros and we were proven right," Clarke said during a news conference at the team's suburban Philadelphia practice rink.

Meanwhile, Lindros told a Canadian TV network: "I don't know if Bob Clarke went into this with the intent of trading me. A lot goes on behind closed doors and the truth never comes out. We'll have to wait and see what happens."

Lindros said he will play for Canada in the World Championships next month in Germany.

Despite striking out in the Lindros derby, St. Louis bolstered its lineup significantly by acquiring veteran center Keith Tkachuk from the Phoenix Coyotes. The Blues sent forwards Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Jeff Taffe and a first-round draft pick to the Coyotes.

"This is a situation that makes sense for a lot of reasons," Phoenix Coach Bob Francis said. "Obviously, St. Louis is going for the big one [a Stanley Cup title] and they acquired an excellent hockey player in Keith Tkachuk."

It's believed the Blues were prepared to send a similar package to Philadelphia for Lindros, who last summer rejected the Flyers' $8.5-million contract offer and demanded to be traded.

Last week, St. Louis General Manager Larry Pleau offered veteran center Pierre Turgeon for Lindros, but Clarke turned him down. Lindros met with team medical personnel in St. Louis on Monday, igniting speculation that a deal was imminent.

"We made a sincere effort, but when you're limited--he picked four teams, but only two tried for him--and other teams know you're limited, there was never a chance to make a deal that was beneficial for us," Clarke said.

In addition to giving Clarke the OK to trade him to St. Louis or Toronto (his first choice), Lindros also said he would play for the Detroit Red Wings or Washington Capitals. Neither team contacted Clarke about a trade, however.

Lindros, 28, hasn't played since suffering his sixth concussion in a 27-month period during the Eastern Conference finals May 26 against the New Jersey Devils.

Lindros refused to play for the Quebec Nordiques when they took him first overall in the 1991 draft, forcing the team to trade him to Philadelphia for six players, two first-round picks and $15 million. The deal helped the Nordiques become the 1996 Stanley Cup champions after the franchise relocated to Denver and became the Avalanche.

But Lindros and his father, Carl, have had a strained relationship with Clarke in recent years. The Lindros family has said the Flyers' medical staff failed to correctly diagnose a concussion.

Clarke has said he has considered keeping Lindros unsigned until the 6-foot-4 center becomes an unrestricted free agent three years from now.

In other significant trades Tuesday:

* The Capitals acquired center Trevor Linden, right wing Dainius Zubrus and a second-round pick from the Montreal Canadiens for forwards Jan Bulis and Richard Zednik and a first-round pick.

* The Buffalo Sabres picked up right wing Donald Audette from the Atlanta Thrashers for a prospect and a draft pick and got right wing Steve Heinze from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a pick. The Sabres didn't trade holdout center Michael Peca.

*

NHL TRANSACTIONS, D9

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