Cover your girls, youngsters, and favourite hockey staff. Name up Batman, Superman, and the remainder of the Justice League as a result of when the Legion of Doom rolls via city, there may be little anybody can do to cease them.
Such was the popularity of probably the most feared and productive strains within the historical past of the NHL — the Legion of Doom. With John LeClair on the left wing, Eric Lindros at middle, and Mikael Renberg on proper wing, the group grew to become identified for his or her ferocious forechecking and the ability/energy mixture of every man.
The Origin of the Legion of Doom
The road was fashioned in the course of the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season after the February ninth commerce that despatched 100-point winger Mark Recchi to Montreal in trade for LeClair, Eric Dejardins, and Gilbert Dionne. The staff desperately wanted the increase on the blueline whereas LeClair and Dionne have been considerably unknown commodities.
Simply two days later, the road would notch its first level in a 3-1 victory over New Jersey. Lindros and Renberg, who had been struggling within the early portion of the season, have been all of the sudden energized by the addition of LeClair and began to set the scoring sheet ablaze.
Dominating opposing groups as members of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Legion took the league, and their very own staff, abruptly.
Coach Terry Murray by way of NHL.com:
“I by no means anticipated John to attain the way in which he did,” stated Murray, now a Flyers assistant coach. “That was an ideal bonus. Once I put that line collectively, I believed LeClair would assist win the battles down low and create some room for Lindros and Renberg.”
Coined by Jim Montgomery, the nickname actually took off because of Flyers announcer Gene Hart, who would name the trio by this nickname throughout Flyers broadcasts.
Legion of Doom to the Playoffs
The road would carry the Flyers to their first playoff look since 1988/89 and even lead them previous the dynamic Buffalo Sabres — led by Dale Hawerchuk, Alexander Mogilny, and Pat Lafontaine — within the first spherical.
Ending tied for first (Lindros), eighth (Renberg), and ninth (LeClair) in league scoring that 12 months, the LOD dominated dialog in the course of the low season, culminating within the Hart and Lester B. Pearson trophies for Lindros. Lindros would lose the Artwork Ross trophy by tie-breaker to Pittsburgh’s Jaromir Jagr since Jagr completed with extra targets. As well as, each Lindros and LeClair would end the season the First NHL All-Star staff.
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Whereas the subsequent season can be one in all nice success, cracks within the line would start to indicate. Renberg can be beset by harm, limiting him to 51 video games and 43 factors.
Lindros and LeClair, nonetheless, would see their careers launched into orbit. Each would end on the Second NHL All-Star staff, with Lindros posting 115 factors (good for sixth within the league) and LeClair posting his first 50-goal season. However the upstart Florida Panthers and their military of rubber rats would upset the Flyers and their vaunted line within the second spherical en-route to the Stanley Cup Closing.
Unbeknownst to anybody, 1996-97 can be the final for the Legion of Doom and it nearly wound up being their most memorable.
The Finish of the Legion of Doom
LeClair would once more notch 50 targets, main the staff in factors, ending fourth in league scoring, and making his second straight Second All-Star staff. Renberg was wholesome as soon as extra however his manufacturing had taken a transparent dip and Lindros battled a knee harm, solely showing in 52 video games.
As soon as the playoffs rolled round, although, it was all enterprise for the Flyers. They steam-rolled their solution to the Finals, beating Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and the Rangers all in 5 video games apiece.
Then issues got here crashing down.
The Flyers storied line was utterly shut down by the finesse pairing of Nicklas Lidstrom and Larry Murphy, to the purpose that Lindros’ solely aim (and he would lead the playoffs in scoring) got here within the dying seconds of a Sport 4 loss to finish the sweep.
Coach Terry Murry can be fired and Renberg would quickly be shipped out of city for Chris Gratton, ending the times of the Legion earlier than they ever actually began. Simply two and a half seasons of dominance and it was gone.
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Lindros and LeClair would stick round, remaining productive, however Lindros’ harm points and rising discontent with Flyers administration wouldn’t solely present a rocky tenure however the eventual departure of “Huge E”.
The fabled Legion of Doom line wowed Flyers followers and angered the opposition for a blinding two and a half years however hockey followers alike will all marvel what may need been if not for accidents.
The Legion of Doom might not have conquered the world, however they got here rattling shut.
This text was initially revealed in March, 2013.
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