The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October.
In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances.
Today we will be looking at Oskar Lindblom.
If I had the opportunity to list all of the qualities that make Lindblom the wonderful player and person he is, I’d probably be here until the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In a season that started off looking so bright for the 23-year-old, his world, along with Flyers fans', were turned upside down when the team released a statement in December — that Lindblom had been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.
My heart broke with the news, but I knew he was going to be strong through it all. I thought seeing him back on the ice at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, a few weeks ago would’ve been the best news of 2020 — but the video of Lindblom ringing the bell, indicating that he finished his treatments, topped it tenfold.
Lindblom embodies strength, resilience and a sense of hope. He’s loved by his teammates and fans in Philadelphia — the support they have given through it all never went unnoticed. While there isn’t a definite timeline on his return, what a moment it will be when he dresses for a game once more. When that time does come, it’ll be one for the books.
A+ for the strongest player on the Flyers this season.
Let’s start with the beginning of the season. On the ice, Lindblom was one of the best Flyers in the early going with 11 goals in 30 games and projected to surpass his career high with flying colors, but this is not Lindblom's story this season.
In mid-December, the Flyers announced that Lindblom had been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that forms in the bones or tissue surrounding the bones. Lindblom began battling the disease, while still being around the team from time to time.
Lindblom’s diagnosis also touched off the “Oskar Strong” campaign around the NHL with players from teams throughout the league wearing Oskar Strong T-shirts. This included the Flyers' heated rivals like the Penguins and Devils proving that hockey is, indeed, a family regardless of the sweater you wear.
Lindblom has since finished his treatments, receiving a standing ovation when leaving the hospital on the last day, and he’s recently been seen skating with Flyers players at the practice facility.
A+ on and especially off the ice for Lindblom.
It's truly astounding to see the impact Lindblom had on the Flyers' 2019-20 regular season.
Not only was Lindblom one of the team's best forwards and projected to finish with 30 goals before being diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in mid-December, but his courageous fight and bright smile also constantly uplifted the Flyers. He made this team better from Day 1 and still found a way to make it better while battling cancer at 23 years old.
Whenever Lindblom was able to visit the Flyers, his teammates were genuinely blown away by his strength, smile and selflessness through the circumstances. It was no coincidence that after seeing Lindblom at the Wells Fargo Center in December, the Flyers answered their lowest point of the season with four straight wins.
"He’s still like the same person, you can’t really tell what he’s going through," Robert Hagg said in March. "Nothing bothers him."
"He brings everyone into a happier place," Kevin Hayes said in March. "If you’re having a bad day, you don’t have a bad day anymore when you see Oskar."
"Oh, it’s awesome. His smile, you know, he’s just a great guy to have around," Justin Braun said in February. "He brightens your day."
Those words say it all. A+ for Lindblom and how he has impacted so many.
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