UPDATED: July 7, 2006.

FROM THE CHEAP SEATS.

with Justin Karp.

Everyone has been to that section of your favorite store where the shopkeepers peddle wares that are slightly irregular for bargain basement prices.

You know, the "damaged goods" section. Apparently, the Dallas Stars like shopping around those kinds of places.

How else could they justify the signing of center/winger Eric Lindros?

Since his outstanding season with the New York Rangers in 2001-02, a campaign where he put up 37 goals for the Blueshirts, Lindros has only scored 40 goals combined over the past three NHL seasons. Last year, he only netted 11 tallies in 33 games as he was hampered all season by a bad wrist.

Throughout the last off-season, all we heard about (usually through his father) was how Eric Lindros wanted so badly to play for the team he grew up watching, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Apparently, one year was just enough for him.

Enter the Dallas Stars, the #2 seed from last year's playoffs. It's hard to shake the image of the once powerful Stars getting pushed and shoved around by the Avalanche in the first round. They were simply overmatched and overpowered by a physically bigger team. It seemed obvious to me that the Stars needed to add a guy during this summer who could add some more toughness and grit to the lineup.

Unfortunately for Big D, the man who mastered the art of concussing himself isn't the answer. The team picked up Matthew Barnaby a few weeks ago, which I thought was a good move because he added some edge and tenacity; I also believe Barnaby has another few years left in the league.

Lindros doesn't.

Forgive him if mentioning the name "Stevens" or the sight of a Devils logo makes him a bit dizzy. Seeing him play over the past two seasons shows me, in my humble opinion, that 88 doesn't have much left in the tank.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to rip apart "Big E" in this column. I like Lindros. I think through the course of his career he has had a good attitude and played the game to the best of his ability every time out. He had some of the best potential I had ever seen coming out of Oshawa in 1992, and don't forget that the guy won a Hart Trophy 11 years ago.

However, the guy hasn't played in a playoff game since the world was stockpiling on Kraft Dinner, waiting for the world to blow up when Y2K rolled around. He hasn't played a reasonably full season since logging 81 games in 2002-03. For the Stars, he's just too much of a liability. If he gets hurt early on next season, the nay-sayers will be out in full force.

What's especially baffling about this signing is the amount of UFA's left on the market that are A) younger and B) have more left. With players like Mike Leclerc, Mike Peca, Petr Sykora and Anson Carter still floating around on the market, toughness seemingly isn't hard to come by.

But the Stars will take their chances with 88. And all we can do is hope nothing comes near his head next season.

E-mail Justin at thepersonalfoul@hotmail.com. You can also listen to his weekly radio show, The Personal Foul, Mondays from 6-7 PM Pacific Time at www.theblaze1260.com.

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