Crazy Eights Line to Reunite in 2024 Alumni Game

Before the birth of the original Legion of Doom line during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season, Hall of Fame center Eric Lindros spent a large portion of his rookie (1992-93) and second seasons in the NHL on the “Crazy Eights” line with fellow Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mark Recchi on left wing and Brent Fedyk on left wing.

The “Crazy Eights” were named for the three linemates’ uniform numbers. Recchi sported No, 8, Fedyk wore No. 18, and Lindros was No. 88. The Crazy Eights had a different chemistry dynamic than the Legion of Doom.

The common denominator, of course was Lindros’ rare combination of skill and size, finesse and brute power, shooting ability and passing touch. But whereas the LOD had three players who stood 6-foot-2 or more and weighed between 215 pounds (Renberg) to 235 pounds (Lindros) — wearing opponents down rapidly with their cycling game and respective standout skills — Lindros was the only goliath-sized member of the Crazy Eights.

Recchi was not tall or imposing (5-foot-10, 180 pounds). He also was not a pure speedster, but more than made for it with quickness. Offensively, Recchi was a double threat. He had an outstanding wrist shot, which he shot from the wrong foot (ala Mark Messier). As good as shot was, though, Recchi was first and foremost a supreme playmaker.

Fedyk wasn’t small (6-foot, 194 pounds) but he wasn’t the physical equal of either LeClair or Renberg. He didn’t have LeClair’s booming shot, heaviness on the puck or ability to dip his shoulder and knock opponents on the seat of their pants. He also didn’t have Renberg’s pre-injury explosiveness or same degree of offensive skill.

That is not to say, however, that Fedyk lacked skill. Originally selected by the Detroit Red Wings with the eighth overall pick of the first round in the 1985 NHL Draft, Fedyk developed into a fine complementary player for skilled linemates. He played a fairly well-rounded two-way game and could play both ends of special teams.

Heading into the 1992-93 season, the Flyers initial plan was to play Lindros and Recchi with veteran playmaking winger Per-Erik “Pelle” Eklund on their left wing. In fact, the Flyers, in conjunction with Ellio’s Pizza, based a print and heavy-rotation TV commercial campaign called “Philly’s Hottest Line” around the assumption that Eklund would be Lindros and Recchi’s primary linemate.

As it turned out, injury issues would limit former Bobby Clarke Trophy winner Eklund to just 52 games in 1992-93. On October 1, 1992, just five days before the start of the regular season, the Flyers acquired Fedyk in a trade with Detroit for a 1994 fourth-round Draft pick (Charles Paquette).

On opening night in Pittsburgh (Oct. 6, 1992), Flyers head coach Bill Dineen placed Fedyk on an as-yet unnicknamed line with Lindros and Recchi. In a 3-3 tie, Fedyk scored the Flyers’ first goal of the season, while Lindros notched his first NHL goal in the third period. Recchi set up the Fedyk goal.

Three nights later, the Flyers hosted the New Jersey Devils in the home opener at the Spectrum. Fedyk and Recchi assisted on a tally by defenseman Brian Benning. In the third period, Lindros scored a breakaway goal.

On Oct. 10, all three members of the line made it a three-game point streak to start the campaign. In a 6-4 road win against the Washington Capitals, Lindros and Fedyk drew the helpers on Recchi’s first goal of the season.

As October moved along, Dineen experimented with some different combinations. For a short period of time, Fedyk played on a line with Rod Brind’Amour and Kevin Dineen. Greg Paslawski played on a trio with Lindros and Recchi. Most notably, on Oct. 24, Paslawski racked up a hat trick and an assist in a 7-6 home loss to Montreal (Fedyk, meanwhile, notched a goal and an assist).

Not long thereafter, Fedyk was moved back onto the Lindros and Recchi line at 5-on-5. By now, the “Crazy Eights” nickname had gained widespread popularity. The advertising campaign was tweaked, with Fedyk replacing Eklund in print ads.

The trio primarily remained linemates the rest of the 1992-93 season, although a knee injury limited Lindros to 61 games (41 goals, 75 points). Recchi went on to set a Flyers’ single season scoring record with 123 points (53 goals, 70 assists). Fedyk established career highs of 21 goals and 59 points.

Under new head coach Terry Simpson, the “Crazy Eights” spent portions of the 1993-94 season together. However, increasingly, Flyers rookie Renberg (a Calder Trophy finalist who set a Flyers rookie record 38 goals, 82 points) supplanted Fedyk on the top line. Renberg, who’d move to right wing the next season, played the left side when with Lindros and Recchi.

Fedyk, nonetheless, had a second straight productive year, both with and away from Lindros and Recchi. “Feds” notched another 20-goal season. Lindros, who again dealt with injuries (knee and shoulder), nevertheless increased his production to 44 goals and 97 points in just 65 games. Recchi, who dressed in every game, posted a second-straight 100-point campaign (40 goals, 67 assists, 107 points).

After one season, Simpson was replaced behind the Flyers’ bench by Terry Murray. A lengthy lockout caused the season to start in mid-January and the schedule to be shortened to 48 games. The Flyers got off to a slow start, and Murray tried out an array of line combinations. Fedyk scored twice in the season’s first five games during a spell when he played with Recchi and Brind’Amour.

Finally, on Feb. 9, 1995, the Flyers made a blockbuster trade with the Montreal Canadiens. Recchi went to the Habs, while LeClair, defenseman Eric Desjardins and winger Gilbert Dionne came to the Flyers. A few games later, LeClair was put with Lindros and Renberg on what soon became known as the Legion of Doom.

The 1994-95 season was a breakthrough campaign for the Flyers. They took first place in the Atlantic Division and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1988-89. The Legion of Doom became a leaguewide sensation, and Lindros won the Hart Trophy as league MVP. In the playoffs, the Flyers reached Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final before bowing out to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils.

While 1994-95 was a resurgent season for the Flyers as a team, Fedyk dealt with a signifcant injury (a chip fracture in a neck vertebrae) and reduced ice time.

The next season, Fedyk opened the regular season on the second line with Brind’Amour and Patrik Juhlin — all three players scored in a 7-1 rout of the Canadiens in the season opener — but the line proved to be short-lived. Fedyk, nonetheless, notched five goals and seven points in the season’s first seven games.

As the calendar flipped to November, Fedyk increasingly played in a bottom-six and period penalty killing role. Finally, on Dec. 13, 1995, the Flyers traded Fedyk to the Dallas Stars in a one-for-one deal for right winger Trent Klatt.

Recchi, of course, would later return to the Flyers from Montreal during the 1998-99 season. He remained through the 2003–04 season. Lindros played with the Flyers until the end of the 1999-2000 season.

In retirement, both Lindros and Recchi have suited up for the Flyers Alumni Team in several major games, including the 2012 Winter Classic. They’ve also participating in various keystone Alumni events. The 2024 Flyers Alumni Hall of Fame Weekend game will be Fedyk’s first time donning a Flyers sweater since 1995. :’Feds” has attended the Alumni Golf Invitational event but this will his first game for the Flyers Alumni Team.

 

As the calendar flipped to November, Fedyk increasingly played in a bottom-six and period penalty killing role. Finally, on Dec. 13, 1995, the Flyers traded Fedyk to the Dallas Stars in a one-for-one deal for right winger Trent Klatt.

Recchi, of course, would later return to the Flyers from Montreal during the 1998-99 season. He remained through the 2003–04 season. Lindros played with the Flyers until the end of the 1999-2000 season.

In retirement, both Lindros and Recchi have suited up for the Flyers Alumni Team in several major games, including the 2012 Winter Classic. They’ve also participating in various keystone Alumni events. The 2024 Flyers Alumni Hall of Fame Weekend game will be Fedyk’s first time donning a Flyers sweater since 1995. :’Feds” has attended the Alumni Golf Invitational event but this will his first game for the Flyers Alumni Team.

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