Eric Lindros admitted he knew exactly when the Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee met each year. Yet, when he received the call from Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald on Monday informing him he had been voted into the 2016 induction class, Lindros was in his car driving home with his wife.
As excited as Lindros was to get the call, he didn't pull over.
"We still had a ways to go, so we chatted through it," Lindros said. "Lanny told me to keep it between the lines. It was good."
Lindros, who played 13 NHL seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars, was among four honorees chosen by the 18-member selection committee for the 2016 class, which will be inducted Nov. 14 in Toronto.
Video: Eric Lindros Discusses Hockey Hall of Fame Induction
Also elected as players were Sergei Makarov, who was an offensive force for the former Soviet Union before coming to the NHL with the Calgary Flames, and goaltender Rogie Vachon, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens who also played for the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins. Pat Quinn, a former defenseman, executive and two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as the NHL coach of the year, posthumously was voted in as a builder.
Lindros, 43, has been eligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame since 2010 but was passed over six times before Monday.
"It was six years and it was a bit of time, but I guess you could turn around and say I'm in the Hall forever going forward," Lindros said. "I don't have much to say other than it's an honor to be part of it and I look forward to the celebration in November."
Lindros, the first player selected in the 1991 NHL Draft, was dominant when healthy during his eight seasons with the Flyers, totaling 659 points (290 goals, 369 assists) in 486 regular-season games from 1992-93 through 1999-2000. He had 56 points in 50 Stanley Cup Playoff games and helped the Flyers reach the Final in 1997.
He was named to the League's All-Rookie Team in 1992-93 and won the Hart Trophy in the lockout-shortened 1994-1995 season, when he had 70 points in 46 games. The following season he had an NHL career-high 115 points in 73 games.
But injuries, including a series of concussions, limited Lindros from having a bigger impact and eventually cut short his career. After sustaining a concussion on a hit from New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens in Game 7 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Final, Lindros sat out the entire 2000-01 season.
Video: John LeClair joins NHL Tonight to talk Lindros
He resumed his career with the Rangers in 2001-02 and helped Canada end its 50-year drought by winning the gold medal the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. He retired after spending the 2006-07 season with Dallas. He had 372 goals, 493 assists and 865 points in 760 career NHL regular-season games.
Despite averaging 1.14 points per game during his NHL career, Lindros was overlooked by the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee until Monday.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't know the date and didn't know the time that things were happening," he said. "Some friends would say things had a better feel for it this year, so I was looking forward to it."
Lindros' wait was brief compared to Vachon's. Vachon, 70, had been eligible for selection to the Hockey Hall of Fame for 31 years.
"I was sort of resigned that I [didn't] think it's going to happen after all those years," Vachon said. "When Lanny called I was at home with my son, Nicholas, and I was in total surprise because I didn't even know I was going to be on the list. But looking back, it was really worth the wait."
Vachon broke into the League with the Canadiens in 1966-67 and recalled making his NHL debut against Gordie Howe and the Red Wings.
"My first shot in the National Hockey League was a breakaway from Gordie Howe from the blue line in," Vachon said. "I don't know if I closed my eyes when he shot, but I stopped him and that probably kept me in the League for 16 years."
Video: '16 HHOF inductees on the honor of being selected
After sharing Vezina Trophy with teammate Gump Worsley in 1967-68, Vachon won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1968, 1969 and 1971. The emergence of Ken Dryden as the Canadiens' No. 1 goaltender prompted Vachon to ask for a trade, and he was sent to Los Angeles, where he played for seven seasons.
Vachon played two seasons each in Detroit and Boston before retiring in 1982 with a 355-291-127 record, a 2.99 goals-against average and 51 shutouts in his NHL career.
Makarov, 58, played 13 seasons in the Soviet League and won eight IIHF World Championship gold medals, two Olympic gold medals and two World Junior Championship gold medals with the Soviet Union. Selected by Calgary in the 12th round (No. 231) of the 1983 NHL Draft, Makarov won the Calder Trophy as the League's rookie of the year in 1989-90 after he had 24 goals and 86 points in 80 games with the Flames.
In 424 NHL regular-season games with the Flames, San Jose Sharks and Stars, Makarov had 134 goals and 384 points. He's been eligible to be in voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame since 2000, but like Lindros and Vachon, was passed over until this year.
Makarov was unavailable to participate in the media conference call, but McDonald said when he called him, Makarov responded, "Oh my God, the wait is over."
Quinn, who died on Nov. 23, 2014, after a long illness, coached the Flyers, Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers, reaching the Stanley Cup Final with Philadelphia in 1980 and Vancouver in 1994. He also coached Canada to its first Olympic gold medal since 1952 in 2002 in Salt Lake City and won a gold medal at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Video: 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame Class Announced