The extent of a feud between Philadelphia general manager Bobby Clarke and Carl Lindros, the father and agent of Flyers centre Eric Lindros, is revealed through a series of letters between the father and team officials.
Obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the letters were written after Lindros suffered a collapsed lung on April 1, 1999, in Nashville, which was diagnosed the following day.
The letters show that Lindros and his family had little to no confidence in the Flyers' medical staff after the incident.
During a game against the Predators, Lindros bruised his rib and complained of chest pain.
When teammate Keith Jones awoke early in the morning, Lindros lay pale and gasping in a bathtub of warm water in their Nashville hotel room.
Jones called team trainer John Worley, but another three hours elapsed before Lindros was admitted to a hospital at 9:44 a.m.
"Eric's critical condition was obvious," Carl Lindros later wrote team chairman Ed Snider, according to the newspaper. "He was in shock, sweating, skin colour as white as a sheet, and the resting pulse was almost twice its normal rate."
Doctors immediately administered oxygen and conducted surgery on the spot.
The lack of treatment rendered by Worley in those three hours caused the already heated relationship between Carl Lindros and the Flyers to worsen.
Lindros' parents accused Clarke of wanting to "kill" their son.
"All the controversies, Eric brings them on himself," Clarke said.
Neither Eric Lindros nor his father would comment to the newspaper.
However, all sides agree that the plan Worley originally discussed with the team's orthopedic specialist that morning -- putting Lindros on a commercial flight back to Philadelphia where he would undergo examination -- would have been fatal.
"Believe me, once the situation became clear, the last thing I would want to do is put someone with a punctured lung in a pressurized compartment," Worley said in October.
The family was convinced that Clarke had ordered Worley to fly Lindros back to Philadelphia for further tests as his teammates flew to Boston for a game without knowing the severity of his injury.
"We have been advised that had Eric attempted to fly back to Philadelphia as directed by Mr. Worley and Mr. Clarke, Eric would likely have died during or as a result of the flight," Carl Lindros wrote in a letter to Snider on April 28, 1999.
After receiving the letter, Snider ordered an internal investigation by team counsel Phil Weinberg. Lindros was not interviewed, but Worley, Jones and other players were, without their agents or lawyers present.
Snider replied to Carl Lindros' letter on May 13, saying that the Flyers had acted properly.
Worley, according to the letter, had no reason to suspect anything more than a bruised rib.
"Carl, you and I are not medical experts, and we cannot and should not debate the appropriateness of Eric's care," Snider wrote. "What is most important is that Eric did receive proper medical treatment and is well on his way to recovery without further consequences."