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Flyers 'Legion of Doom' line takes part in alumni game

Lindros, LeClair, Renberg reunite outdoors

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg were on the ice for a second straight night Friday, but in a much more recognizable form.

One night after coming together to help the Philadelphia Flyers honor Lindros, whose No. 88 was retired at Wells Fargo Center, the "Legion of Doom" line skated with other former Flyers against alumni from Hershey of the American Hockey League at the Capital Blue Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium.

It's the second time Lindros, LeClair and Renberg have skated together since their three seasons as linemates ended with Philadelphia's loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997 Stanley Cup Final. They were together at the 50th Anniversary Game against the Pittsburgh Penguins alumni on Jan. 14, 2017, at Wells Fargo Center.

But playing outside was a chance for them to do it in a special situation.

"We grew up playing outdoors," said Lindros, 44. "This is how we grew up. It's the purest form of hockey. It's your backyard rinks, your outdoors rinks. It's how we started as kids."

The "Legion of Doom" didn't score in the 9-5 win by Hershey but showed some flashes of its old dominance. The line cycled the puck on a handful of shifts and Lindros was robbed by Philippe Sauve on a 2-on-1 rush.

"Thought we had it," Lindros said. "Johnny wasn't open, thought I'd just shoot it."

In their primes there were few teams that could slow Lindros (6-foot-4, 240 pounds), LeClair (6-3, 233) and Renberg (6-2, 235), who blended size with game-breaking skill.

The line was put together when the Flyers acquired LeClair, defenseman Eric Desjardins and forward Gilbert Dionne in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens for forward Mark Recchi on Feb. 9, 1995.

LeClair, 48, knew Lindros only from playing against him, but said he learned pretty quickly that playing with him would be enjoyable.

"Eric was special for the organization well before I got there," LeClair said. "When I had a chance to play with him and see him in practice every day and play with him every day, you realize there's so much more there too. It's beyond what you see the three or four times you play against him in a year. He's a guy, everything he does is special. He meant so much to the organization through those years."

From the day of the LeClair trade through the end of the 1996-97 season, LeClair had 126 goals in 201 games, third in the NHL behind Jaromir Jagr (134) and Peter Bondra (128). Lindros had 253 points (104 goals, 149 assists) in 162 games, fourth in the League; the only players with more were Jagr (300), Mario Lemieux (281) and Ron Francis (254). Renberg had 154 points (70 goals, 84 assists) in 165 games.

Video: NHL Tonight on playing against Eric Lindros

"I knew [Renberg], knew his intensity and what he liked to do and how he liked to do it," Lindros said. "Then to fit Johnny in with that, things just started coming in practice. We were just having fun and it overflowed into games."

The key to having more fun may be getting Renberg, 45, to come to North America more often. He lives in Sweden and works for Swedish national television.

"It was a lot of fun," Renberg said. "It's been such a long time since I've played outdoors too. It was great. It was pretty hard. They were skating hard. I had to work to keep up."

The line was broken up when Renberg was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Aug. 20, 1997, with defenseman Karl Dykhuis for the four first-round draft picks the Flyers had given the Lightning as compensation for signing free agent forward Chris Gratton six days earlier.

More than 20 years have passed since their time together, but they showed some magic Friday.

"You're on the bench sitting there and you're mesmerized watching them moving around," said Daniel Briere, 40, a Flyers forward from 2007-13. "It's a blast. Doesn't matter how old they get, as a fan, as someone who loves hockey, it's really special to see those three guys together."

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