- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Eric Lindros was in St. Louis last night while the Blues were in Philadelphia. It was the latest in a series of strange coincidences as the clock ticked down to the bewitching hour of 3 p.m. today, when the NHL trading deadline kicks in.
Lindros last night appeared destined to join the Blues in what appears to be the first stage of a ripple-effect trade among three teams. The loser might be the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had been at the forefront of the Lindros hunt for months.
Lindros, the reluctant, oft-injured Flyer who rejected an $8.5 million qualifying offer last summer to see if he could get away from his personal nemesis, Philadelphia general manager Bobby Clarke, may have gotten his wish at last.
The last stumbling block to Lindros landing with the Blues was believed to be medical clearance from a panel of physicians in St. Louis. Blues general manager Larry Pleau conferred with the physicians by conference call last night from Philadelphia, where his team plays tonight. No announcement was planned on the results of the physical until sometime today.
Where does this leave the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings, the other teams Lindros' father, Carl, said the center would play for? Apparently on the outside, pawns in a game in which family interests hoped more involvement would quicken and sweeten a deal.
Washington general manager George McPhee said last night the Caps had not done anything on the trade front yesterday but did not rule out something happening before the deadline. It was thought a search for a large center and/or a reliable, healthy defenseman was still being pursued, but it was also possible the club would stand pat, not wishing to interfere with the chemistry that has carried the team to the upper echelon of the league.
"I'm trying to do a few things, but I don't know if anything's going to happen," McPhee said. He also said the Caps were not officially out of the Lindros picture, apparently interested onlookers who might swoop in at the last minute should any deal between Philadelphia and another team fall apart.
According to a variety of sources last night, Clarke could come out of the affair as the winner for staying the course, refusing to buckle to lesser deals even while his club was losing frontline players (John LeClair, Mark Recchi and Simon Gagne) to injuries and refusing to buckle to Lindros family pressure.
The following scenario was painted, all based on Lindros passing his physical:
The Flyers would trade the rights to Lindros, an unsigned restricted free agent, to St. Louis.
The Blues would send a combination of players to Philadelphia, probably involving All-Star wing Pavol Demitra, who has been out for a month with a leg injury; Michal Handzus, a good two-way center; well-regarded rookie wing Ladislav Nagy; defenseman Mike Van Ryn; and possibly a first-round draft pick in June.
The Flyers would send pieces of the Blues' package and possibly goalie Brian Boucher to Phoenix for left wing Keith Tkachuk, seemingly Clarke's target all along, and probably a depth defenseman.
There is no doubt the Blues are taking an enormous chance with a player who is more than a head above anybody else in the league when healthy but who is not healthy that often. Pleau is familiar with the concussion problem; his son was forced out of hockey after suffering three of them, and former Blues (and Caps) left wing Geoff Courtnall was forced into retirement by suffering one too many.
Note Home Team Sports yesterday added the Caps' April 5 game against the Florida Panthers to its broadcast schedule. The move, replacing coverage of the Washington Wizards playing at the New York Knicks, means all 13 of the Caps' remaining regular season games will be shown live. Eleven will be on HTS, one on WBDC-TV (Channel 50) and one on ESPN.


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