PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers rookie Zac Rinaldo got to meet his hero Saturday inside the home clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.
Rinaldo approached Eric Lindros following the Molson Canadian 2012 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game and told the ex-Flyer great that he is the only reason he gained a passion for hockey as a young kid growing up in Hamilton, Ont.
"He's the only reason I watched hockey, really," Rinaldo said of Lindros. "I told him if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be the player I am today, and that's the truth. I don't think I would be able to hit the way I want to. I didn't like watching hockey if he wasn't playing. If he was playing, I'd watch."
Rinaldo said he was able to get Lindros to sign his jersey. Rinaldo's father also took a picture with Lindros.
"(Lindros) will be at the game (Monday), so hopefully I can put on a good show for him," Rinaldo said. "Maybe we can keep in touch.
"He was really humble. He's a really great guy."
Rinaldo, one of the Flyers resident pugilists who has 110 penalty minutes this season, did say if he got to play in Lindros' era, he wouldn't have backed down from the powerful center.
"He'd be the first guy to go after," Rinaldo said. "I wouldn't ask him to fight. I'd give him a little respect, but I'd definitely try to hit him. He'd probably put me on my (butt), but I'd be honored to take a hit from that guy."