The prodigy didn't expect them to throw roses, but batteries? Baby bottles? Bullets? "I'm a kid," Lindros says. "I ought to be in my first year of college. I mean, it's ridiculous. I really think it's scary what people think it's all right to do, what some people think. Why do they want to blame their political problems on a kid?"
Lindros guards his privacy, rarely letting anyone see him act his age. "I don't think people really need to know what I do off the ice," he says. Pushed, he'll reluctantly spill tiny details of his life—and almost nothing of his personality. Better sit down before you read this: He lives in a rented condo in Voorhees. He drives a four-wheel-drive truck. He listens to the rock group Asia, and he likes Bruce Springsteen. He cried when Macaulay Culkin died in My Girl. He doesn't wear socks under his skates. "I sleep a lot," he offers helpfully. "Really, I sleep loads. I get so wound up, I'm exhausted when I get home.
"I don't really know what I'm like as a person. Self-perception is something that's tough to come by honestly. I mean, I'm biased. I know I'm an ass——." Smile, wink. "Want to order a pizza?"
His teammates don't offer a lot of illumination on Lindros's personality. "He's been through a lot, so it's understandable that it's hard for him to trust people," Recchi says. "He's loosened up a lot. He really has. Eventually, he's going to be a big leader on this team."
"He's a regular guy," says veteran center Keith Acton, who roomed with Lindros at the Flyers' training camp on remote Prince Edward Island. "Just a regular guy. He's human. He was anxious. He was nervous coming in. He wanted to prove to his teammates that he was for real. That's normal."
Have all the hassles been worth it? "Waaaay!" Lindros says with a broad grin. "I'm so happy to be where I am. I'm finally having fun." So are the Flyers, who are hoping to make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. And that's only the short-range target. Lindros, after all, is a player whose arms are built to someday hoist the Stanley Cup.