Kevin Hayes tried comprehending Oskar Lindblom's attitude within the circumstances.
"I don’t know how I would handle what he’s going through, and he’s handled it with professionalism," Hayes said in March. "He brings everyone into a happier place. If you’re having a bad day, you don’t have a bad day anymore when you see Oskar."
Appropriately, Lindblom has been voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association's Philadelphia chapter as the Flyers' nominee for the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, an award given annually to "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”
The Flyers' 23-year-old forward was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in mid-December. The team, Flyers fans and the NHL have rallied around the Swedish native ever since. More impressively, Lindblom has constantly uplifted the Flyers' spirits with his own presence and positivity despite enduring a battle with cancer and draining treatments.
“Fantastic, every time he shows up," Matt Niskanen said in March. "The guy never stops smiling.
"He was like that obviously before he got the news, and hasn’t changed."
Below is a statement from Lindblom on his nomination:
I’m honored to be nominated for this special award by the Philadelphia PHWA chapter. This past season has been a difficult one for sure, but the positive support I’ve received from my family, my girlfriend, teammates, the Flyers organization and Flyers fans has been a tremendous help and inspiration through these times and I look forward to the day I’m back on the ice.
I was very touched to see how many people, whether they support the Flyers or another team, were wearing #OskarStrong T-shirts. I continue to feel your support.
Back in December, the Flyers had finished an 0-3-0 road trip during which they learned of Lindblom's sudden and shocking diagnosis. At that juncture, it was the club's lowest point of the season. As the Flyers returned to Philadelphia, Lindblom greeted them at the Wells Fargo Center and the team went on to win four straight games.
"You’re putting life in a different perspective," Robert Hagg said in March. "It was really tough when we found out and a couple of weeks after that. Ever since then, I felt like he wants us to keep playing, keep winning, that’s what he wants. That’s the only thing you can do for him, as well. Keep fighting with him, but he wants you to play and do well."
Throughout this season, Lindblom's smile has made the Flyers smile. The Flyers are better because of him.
“Makes everybody feel good," head coach Alain Vigneault said in February after Lindblom surprised the team following a victory. "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.”
There are 31 nominees for the award, one from each team. Following a vote by the PHWA, three finalists will be named with the winner announced among the NHL awards.
The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association proudly announces chapters’ nominees for the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: pic.twitter.com/EpBQDoMhe5— PHWA (@ThePHWA) June 9, 2020
The last Flyer to win the award was Ian Laperriere in 2011.
Lindblom's inspiring fight for his life, for his family and for the Flyers makes him a candidate to become the next Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner.
In late April, Vigneault said Lindblom was working out.
"His treatments are doing well," Vigneault said. "I’ve been texting him more on a regular basis since the beginning. We’ll have some news when the season starts again.”
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.