Lindros In Quebec; The Storm's Due Tonight

Posted: October 13, 1992

QUEBEC — The commotion started as soon as Eric Lindros walked through the door at Gate No. 1 of the Quebec City airport.

The television cameramen flipped on their floodlights and started rolling their tapes. The newspaper photographers jostled for angles. The 50 people milling around baggage carousel No. 1 strained for a look at the 19-year-old celebrity, the guy who had refused to sign with the Quebec Nordiques after being picked first overall in the 1991 draft.

There wasn't much to see. Lindros, making his first NHL appearance in this French Canadian city, was shielded by big Dave Brown, the Flyers' designated tough guy and Lindros' roommate on this road trip. Steven Flynn, the head of SpectaGuard, the Flyers' security outfit, tagged along just in case.

Brown, an old hand at picking his way through crowds on and off the ice, led Lindros behind the baggage carousel and along the far wall, away from the crowd and past a boy who unsuccessfully asked Lindros to stop and sign an autograph.

Lindros, the Flyers' No. 1 center and their latest franchise player, mumbled and kept his head down.

A half hour later, Lindros and the rest of the Flyers entered their downtown hotel by the back door, and Lindros reluctantly held an anti- climactic news conference.

His best line came when one of the 25 assembled journalists asked him how he expected to be received in tonight's game against the Nordiques.

"I don't expect roses," he said. "I don't expect any gifts. Just regular boos. That should do it. It's just a hockey game."

But it's not just a hockey game for many people in Quebec. Many here still resent the comments that Lindros made in the summer of 1991, when he criticized the French culture and the Nordiques. Radio talk show hosts have told fans to bring rattles and bibs and pacifiers to taunt Lindros.

Reports say there will be police stationed around the Flyers' bench.

"It's an overreaction," Lindros said. "If you start worrying about those sorts of things, well, anything written like that is a lot of speculation."

These days, Lindros says he has nothing against the French culture of Quebec. He despises only Marcel Aubut, the Nordiques' president.

"You can't trust him," Lindros said of Aubut.

"The people up there (in Quebec), I really don't know much about them. They are just the same as any other person in North America. . . . (The players) all know about Marcel. It's the situation where you're sitting on a fence and you don't want to muddy the water because you might be the next one in the pond. Everyone is afraid to say something, but they all know."

As for the Nordiques, many of them think the fans should cheer Lindros, whose trade brought Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, Steve Duchesne and Kerry Huffman to Quebec.

"The fans are going to give it to Lindros all right," Nordiques defenseman Tony Twist said. "But I don't think he can fill the shoes of the four Flyers we got for him. The fans shouldn't boo him. They should cheer him. Look how good he's made us."

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