Eric Lindros

Why Flyers should retire Mark Recchi's No. 8

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Why Flyers should retire Mark Recchi's No. 8

Flyers president Paul Holmgren called it the “highest honor in franchise history.”

And it’s certainly a very exclusive club.

Eric Lindros last Thursday became just the sixth player in over 50 seasons of Flyers hockey to have his number retired by the organization, although there are actually eight numbers that will never be worn again.

The Flyers removed Pelle Lindbergh’s No. 31 out of circulation shortly after his death in 1985, and the NHL officially retired Wayne Gretzky’s 99 league-wide amongst its member organizations in 2000.

But with the recent retirement of No. 88, Flyers fans may not see another name and number raised to the rafters in a very long time.


Unless the organization makes strong consideration for the guy who wore No. 8, Mark Recchi.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of the Recchi argument.

Hockey Hall of Fame
Recchi has already cleared the tallest obstacle — induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, which now seems to be a franchise prerequisite that started with Bill Barber. Barber’s No. 7 was raised to the Spectrum rafters three weeks after his Hall of Fame induction in 1990.

Mark Howe followed suit as the Flyers staged his No. 2 retirement ceremony in March 2012 — four months following his HHOF induction in 2011, and now Lindros.

Recchi was enshrined in 2017 along with Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Dave Andreychuk, plus a few others.

A productive 10-year Flyers career
Recchi’s career spanned 1,652 games, or more than twice the length of Lindros’ NHL career. While he didn’t play the majority of his lengthy career in Philadelphia, Recchi played more games (602) with the Flyers than any other team by a considerable margin. Recchi’s next longest tenure was 389 games with Pittsburgh.

In terms of games played in Philadelphia, Recchi ranks 18th in franchise history, having played more games than Lindros (482) and even Howe (594). Along with Bob Clarke and Barber, Recchi is the only other Hall of Famer to play 600 games with the Flyers' organization.

Recchi also put up some massive numbers, scoring 232 goals and 627 points — one of five players (with at least 400 games played) who averaged a point per game. Lindros is the gold standard for the orange and black with 1.36 points per game. Recchi’s 1.04 clip trails only Tim Kerr, Brian Propp and Clarke, and is actually better than Barber’s 0.98 points per game average.

Recchi currently holds the franchise record for most points in a single season with 123, a record that has stood for 25 years, and along with Clarke, they’re the only two players in franchise history with multiple 100-point seasons.

Flyers Hall of Fame
Despite the previously mentioned accomplishments, Recchi awaits the Flyers Hall of Fame — a group that includes 20 players along with five coaches and executives.

Hall of Fame induction is voted upon by a combination of media members and team officials. Since Recchi was actively playing until his retirement after the 2010-11 season, his name hasn’t been much of a consideration. That should change moving forward.

With Claude Giroux recently passing Recchi for eighth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list, it should be noted Recchi still has more points than any player currently eligible for the Flyers HOF.

Postseason accomplishments
Here’s where the case for Recchi gets a little murky. With 36 career playoff points in 65 postseason games, Recchi ranks just 25th in franchise history. However, that total is still three points better than Gary Dornhoefer's playoff totals.

Recchi’s most productive playoff run came in 2000 when the Flyers reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final before losing a 2-1 elimination game to the Devils. Recchi scored 18 points in 18 postseason games that year.

However, Recchi’s signature playoff moment with the Flyers came in triple-overtime of Game 4 of the 2003 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That game-winning goal evened the series at 2-2, as the Flyers eventually took down the Leafs in seven games.

However, Recchi will always be remembered for winning three Stanley Cup championships with three different organizations: Penguins in 1991, Hurricanes in 2006 and the Bruins in 2011 at the age of 42.

The verdict
Curiously, for a player who scored 577 career goals spanning four decades, Recchi was selected to just one All-Star team in his 22-year career (1992 with the Penguins). He never played the majority of his career with one team, but his time spent in Philadelphia was the longest — 602 of 1,652 games (36 percent).

Recchi is certainly Flyers Hall of Fame-worthy, and if consideration is given to the overall greatness of No. 8, he very well should be the seventh player to have his number retired.

Watch Eric Lindros' heartfelt speech

Watch Eric Lindros' heartfelt speech

As the Flyers honored Eric Lindros on Thursday night, raising his iconic No. 88 to the Wells Fargo Center rafters, Paul Holmgren delivered a fitting salute to "Big E."

"You are back where you belong," the Flyers' president said during the pregame festivities. "This time, it's forever."

The crowd erupted before giving way to Lindros.

Just hours before his jersey retirement ceremony, the hockey Hall of Famer was taken aback by the calm before the storm.

"I just walked the concourse and this morning I went for a stroll to see all the shirts in the seats, it’s unbelievable," Lindros said. "This is one of those days that you take for the rest of your life. It's a special moment and you really feel lucky."

Then, Lindros was in awe when he took the podium.

"Wow, ha ha!" Lindros said as the fans roared. "This is crazy. Thank you, so much."

Lindros thanked his family, the organization and, of course, the fans.

Here was the touching finish to his speech, which you can watch in its entirety in the video above, along with the jersey being hoisted above the ice.

Flyers players are lucky to play in a city where the fans truly know the game of hockey, appreciate the little things and are of course rowdy, but also show heart. Like you showed the night that Mario Lemieux returned from his battle with cancer — a standing ovation, very classy and I won't forget it.

It's no secret that when I left Philadelphia, it was under less-than-ideal circumstances. I believe I'm here today, hockey aside, because of two people: my wife, Kina, and Paul Holmgren. Both, in their own ways, have taught me to move on, put in the past any differences of opinion, any hard feelings. It was time to remember the great moments I experienced here in Philadelphia, the friendships I have built in this great city and the respect I have for the fans of this team.

(AP Images)

(AP Images)

(AP Images)

Trip to Voorhees brings up old memories for Lindros

Trip to Voorhees brings up old memories for Lindros

VOORHEES, N.J. — Eric Lindros doesn’t have to lace up the skates and go through a physically exhausting practice, but the Flyers' Hall of Famer hasn’t had much time to catch his breath either, as he attempts to squeeze in as many activities and appearances during his week-long stay in the Delaware Valley.

Lindros on Wednesday stopped by the Skate Zone in Voorhees to visit with members of the organization and players on the team. It was his first visit to the practice facility since December 2011 when he returned for the Alumni Game at Citizens Bank Park.

“This is a beautiful facility they have here. We got off the highway and there’s Vito’s Pizza. That used to be the spot we’d pop in after practice,” Lindros said, realizing how landmarks have changed while others remain the same. “I always realized it was a big part (of my life). I came here as a 19-year-old with some great vets I had a chance to play with.”

Lindros made numerous commitments, including Tuesday night’s “Skate with 88” event in West Chester, the Flyers' Alumni outdoor game in Hershey Friday night, a sold-out appearance at Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne on Saturday all sandwiched around the marquee event — the No. 88 retirement ceremony prior to Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs.

“It’s an honor,” said Wayne Simmonds, who grew up in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, Ontario. “He’s one of my favorite players growing up so to get a chance to watch his number raised to the rafters at Wells Fargo is going to be special. He’s one of the all-time greats if you ask me.”

Along with Lindros' wife and three kids, Lindros’ family will be in attendance, including his father Carl and his mother Bonnie, as well as, his brother Brett and sister Robin.

“Wonderful thrill. I just went through the walkthrough this morning,” Lindros said, “Certainly excited, really excited. I feel honored to be part of it. I feel like the names that are up in the rafters are incredible names and after tomorrow it will be extremely special.”

Since sharing the stage with Legion of Doom teammate John LeClair during their induction into the Flyers' Hall of Fame in November 2014, Lindros was also enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in November 2016, and Thursday night, he will become the sixth player in the organization to have his jersey number retired.

“It’s been great," Lindros said. "The last year and a bit has been spectacular for us and our family. It gives you a chance to reflect and think back to good times and just how lucky you are to have played with certain guys.”