Flyers

Sorry NHL trade buzz, sorry Flyers' playoff push — Oskar Lindblom's smile wins the day

Sorry NHL trade buzz, sorry Flyers' playoff push — Oskar Lindblom's smile wins the day

All the trade fodder and debate took a backseat.

Gaining ground in the playoff race and smelling first place felt inconsequential.

Quite frankly, nothing compares to Oskar Lindblom's smile.

Just ask the Flyers.

“Oh, it’s awesome. His smile, you know, he’s just a great guy to have around — he brightens your day," Justin Braun said. "The fact that he’s doing well and he’s able to come to the rink and see the boys is just fantastic.”

Lindblom, the Flyers’ 23-year-old forward who is battling Ewing’s sarcoma, surprised the team Saturday by greeting it after a 4-2 win over the Jets at the Wells Fargo Center.

Lindblom visited the entire team and staff in early-to-mid January, when he had begun his cancer treatment.

Once again Saturday, the Swedish native's vibrant smile uplifted everyone. It always does.

“Really good, really good to see him," Scott Laughton said, trying to put his emotions into words. "Just really good to see him.”

"It’s great to see him, I haven’t seen him in a couple weeks," Carter Hart added. "I'm sure he was happy to come to the rink and see the boys. All of us are happy to see him and he’s looking great."

The Flyers had a lot to be happy about Saturday. They strengthened their playoff chances, crept to within three points of the Penguins and Capitals in the Metropolitan Division race and general manager Chuck Fletcher watched his team further cement its status as a contender ahead of Monday's 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline (see observations).

But head coach Alain Vigneault's first postgame comments were about Lindblom.

“He was smiling," Vigneault said. "Great smile, looked beautiful.

“Makes everybody feel good. There’s no doubt that we’re all behind him, his teammates are obviously checking up on him on a regular basis and so is the whole staff.

"But to see him live, it’s just beautiful.”

For the the Flyers, it doesn't get better than that.

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Flyers' Game 3 in 2010 Stanley Cup Final was the Best Game I Ever Saw Live

Flyers' Game 3 in 2010 Stanley Cup Final was the Best Game I Ever Saw Live

In the spring of 1997, Eric Lindros and company were steamrolled. Swept by the Detroit Red Wings for the first of three Stanley Cup titles in six years for the Motor City.

Fast forward 13 years. The Flyers are back in the Finals facing the same fate after losing the first two games in Chicago.

This Flyers team already completed one of the most improbable comebacks the NHL had ever seen. Down 3-0 to the Bruins in the series and then in Game 7, they shocked the world. The odds of this team completing the historic feat twice in the span of a month? Not great. That made Game 3 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final so important. If they are going to win the Cup, they have to win this game.

The night featured everything you love about playoff hockey. A game associated with the bitterness of winter played on a warm evening in June. The arena maxed out with twenty thousand people wearing orange, holding their breath with every scoring chance, every save, then erupting in unison when the goal horn ripped through your ear drums.

60 minutes would not be enough. Five minutes into overtime the fans jumped to their feet, releasing a burst of energy that could be felt down Broad Street. It would turn out to be a practice run for the euphoria to come. Replays of the puck behind goaltender Corey Crawford, sliding perfectly along the goal line, confirmed our worst fears. It’s not over.

The swing of emotions is what makes overtime playoff hockey so unique. The suddenness of it all is unmatched. Which is why none of us were expecting, less than one minute later, the building would shake. No need for a review. No need to regain our composure. Claude Giroux had won Game 3.

It was one of those moments when strangers were now family. Section 212 became my new neighborhood. I looked around to take in the moment, seeing smiles from ear to ear and even a few jubilant tears.

One week later, tears of a different kind were shed after Patrick Kane celebrated by himself on the same sheet of ice. Another Finals loss jumpstarted another dynasty with the Blackhawks claiming three Cups in six years. The hurt of that series loss was equalled only by the exhilaration of Game 3 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. The best game I ever saw live.

Flyers sign prospect Wade Allison to entry-level contract

Flyers sign prospect Wade Allison to entry-level contract

There are no more worries about the Flyers' college prospects.

Four days after Tanner Laczynski inked a deal with the organization, the Flyers signed Wade Allison to his two-year entry-level contract Friday.

Both college seniors had rights to the Flyers that were set to expire Aug. 15. Now the 2016 draft picks are officially in the fold for the future.

Allison, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound winger out of Western Michigan, will bring a craftiness around the net and powerful shot to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

“We are very happy to have Wade under contract,” Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in a statement released by the team. “He possesses a great package of size, speed and skill, and we strongly believe he’ll be an NHL power forward moving forward.”

The second-round selection has battled injuries during his time with the Broncos, including a torn ACL his sophomore year. That season, Allison was on a torrid pace with 15 goals and 15 assists in 22 games before suffering the injury. As a senior in 2019-20, Allison put up 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) and a plus-11 mark in 26 games.

Allison will turn 23 years old in October and his experience could help him climb quickly. Health will be vital, as well. There's a lot to like, though, with Allison's overall ability.

In the last 18 days, the Flyers have signed prospects Allison, Laczynski and Wyatte Wylie to entry-level deals.

Another college player to keep an eye on is Wyatt Kalynuk, who is coming off his junior season at Wisconsin. The defenseman can return to Madison for his senior year or turn pro in 2020-21 as his rights don't expire until the summer of 2021.

Meanwhile, the rights to prospects Linus Hogberg and David Bernhardt, two Swedish blueliners in the Flyers' system, expire June 1.



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