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Jim Matheson, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Friday, November 03, 2006


EDMONTON - When Eric Lindros was a free agent in July and looking to start a relationship with another team, he cozied up to the Edmonton Oilers. And he wasn't flirting.

He wasn't looking to date, either, rather looking to jump into a marriage, of sorts.

In the end, the Big E went to the Big D, opting to sign a one-year contract in Dallas. But Lindros says "it wasn't a dabble" with the Oilers.

Lindros, who's been playing right-wing, not his normal centre for the first month with the Stars and has 10 points in 12 games, was serious about coming north. He talked to both Oilers coach Craig MacTavish and GM Kevin Lowe, listening to their pitches before deciding to sign for $1.55 million US (base salary) with bonuses, likely for games played and how far Dallas goes in the playoffs, which could net him another $1 million US.

So far, he's fit in, very nicely, playing for coach Dave Tippett, his former Canadian Olympic team ('92 Albertville) and Philadelphia Flyers teammate.

Lindros's days of being the star are over and he's happy being just a part of the constellation on a 10-2 Dallas team.

"I have great respect for Craig (coach MacTavish) after playing with him (in Philadelphia 10 years ago) ... as a person and how he played the game, and obviously Craig's coaching record is fantastic," said Lindros.

Lindros, 33, watched the Oilers' playoff run, too, as they got to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final.

"I sat back and watched Kevin Lowe wheel and deal. He put the Oilers in a real good position to win the Stanley Cup," said Lindros, who made it once with the Flyers in '97, losing to Detroit. "It (not choosing the Oilers) wasn't financial. I just decided on Dallas. I knew Dave, as well."

In Dallas, Lindros -- who just might be coming off his best game as a Star, banging bodies, scoring twice and getting into a late tussle with St. Louis's Dan Hinote -- is a supporting player to Mike Modano, Brenden Morrow, Jere Lehtinen and others.

Morrow, who's wearing the captaincy now, and ex-Hab centre Mike Ribeiro, are Lindros's linemates -- the second unit, behind Modano, Lehtinen and fellow Finn Jussi Jokinen.

"When we talked this summer, I thought Dallas was a great situation for Eric. He's always been in a place where he's been the most watched guy, but we're only asking him to be part of this team. We're not asking him to carry it," said Tippett, who may have envisioned No. 88 replacing Jason Arnott as the tag-team centre for Modano, who's had a great start with eight goals.

But the Stars coach now likes Lindros at wing, where he can get in on the forecheck with his 240-pound body and cause havoc.

Wednesday's win over the Blues was the perfect example, although Lindros admits the

position is foreign to him. He says he's only played wing once before, in New York, with Bobby Holik.

The Stars are Lindros's fourth team, but first in the Western Conference after stints with the Flyers, Rangers and Maple Leafs, where he only got into 33 games last year because of a bad wrist that needed surgery.

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