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The Legion of Doom was a forward line for the Philadelphia Flyers who played together between 1995 and 1997 comprising center Eric Lindros, left winger John LeClair and right winger Mikael Renberg. They were given this name not only for their offensive play, but also their ability to dominate games physically. The name was coined by journeyman center Jim Montgomery and popularized by Flyers announcer Gene Hart.[1]

The Legion of Doom evoked memories of the "Broad Street Bullies" in the 1970s, and the “LCB” line of Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber.

Contents

Background

Despite a strong start to the 1993-94 season, and emergent talents such as Lindros and Renberg, the Flyers fell apart in the second half of the year and narrowly missed the playoffs, the fifth consecutive time that the club didn't reach the postseason. This led to the firing of head coach Terry Simpson and general manager Russ Farwell. They were succeeded by Terry Murray and Bobby Clarke, respectively. Mark Recchi, Lindros, and Brent Fedyk had formed the productive "Crazy Eights" that year. Renberg split his time playing LW with Lindros and right wing with Rod Brind'Amour.[2]

The Legion of Doom

The line was formed in the lockout shortened 1994–95 season when John LeClair was traded to Philadelphia from the Montreal Canadiens, along with Eric Desjardins and Gilbert Dionne, in exchange for Mark Recchi. Renberg was moved from Rod Brind'Amour's left wing and placed on Lindros' right wing. Murray then placed LeClair as the left wing to form the trio. LeClair was expected to use his physical prowess to make room for Lindros, and went on to exceed all expectations as LeClair's scoring totals jumped dramatically compared with his time with the Canadiens.

The line registered its first point on Saturday, February 11, 1995, in a game against the New Jersey Devils at the Meadowlands. The line made an immediate impact, as it helped the Flyers defeat the Devils 3–1. Before the formation of the line, the Flyers had struggled out of the gate, going only 3–7–1 through their first 11 games while being outscored 34–22. However, in their final 37 games (including the one on February 11 against the Devils), the Flyers went 25–9–3 and outscored their opponents 128–98 enroute to capturing the Atlantic Division title and an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Legion went on to score 80 goals and collect 96 assists that season for Philadelphia. Eric Lindros, with a total of 70 points, tied Jaromir Jagr for the scoring lead that season, but the Art Ross Memorial Trophy was given to Jagr as he had more goals. Lindros however, was named the league MVP by winning the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award. Lindros and LeClair both earned NHL First-Team All-Star honours.

1995-96 Season

The line stayed together for the 1995–96 season, which would turn out to be their most productive, as they scored 121 goals and picked up 134 assists.

1997 Stanley Cup Final

Their last season together was 1996–97, where they scored 104 goals and collected 131 assists. The Legion's offensive production was down due to injuries to Renberg.

They also led the Philadelphia Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, collecting 26 goals and 32 assists in their play-off run, as they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, and New York Rangers in five games each.

However, they were upset by the Detroit Red Wings, who swept them 4 games to none. Detroit coach Scotty Bowman surprised Flyers coach Terry Murray by using the fitness-oriented defense pairing of Nicklas Lidstrom and Larry Murphy, rather than the rugged Vladimir Konstantinov, against the Legion of Doom. Lidstrom and Murphy's puckhandling abilities helped them neutralize Philadelphia's vaunted forechecking. LeClair and Lindros only scored one goal each during the Finals series; LeClair scored the Flyers' only goal as they lost Game Three 6-1, while Lindros finally managed to put the puck in the net during the dying seconds of Game Four to cut the Wings' lead to 2-1.[3]

Breakup

Terry Murray's contract as head coach was not renewed due to the "choking" incident, though he remained with the Flyers as a pro scout and later as an assistant coach.[4]

The line would be broken up in the 1997 off-season, as Philadelphia dealt Renberg in exchange for Chris Gratton. Lindros and LeClair still played on the same line, with Keith Jones at right-wing. Later Renberg would return to Philadelphia for the exact same trade which would send Gratton back to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although Renberg returned, the original Legion of Doom did not, for Renberg could never make it past the third forward line.

Mark Recchi returned to the Flyers midway through the 1998-99 season and again became the team's leading scorer. Lindros missed the end of the 1999-2000 season with a concussion, so the Flyers traded for Keith Primeau who played a physical forward role similar to Lindros, as Lindros only returned at the end of the playoffs. That turned out to be his last-ever game with the Flyers, as he held out the following season over a contract dispute and he was sent to the New York Rangers for 2001-02. John LeClair was bought out by the Flyers following the 2003–04 NHL season and signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bill Meltzer, Legion of the Doomed
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]

External links

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