Flyers

Wayne Simmonds receives thunderous ovation from Flyers fans ... then gets his boos

Wayne Simmonds receives thunderous ovation from Flyers fans ... then gets his boos

Wayne Simmonds was traded to the Flyers in June 2011.

He was 22 years old and had scored 39 career goals. He was a subplot as the Flyers sent captain Mike Richards to the Kings.

Simmonds had no idea what to expect with Philadelphia.

"I was just coming in here trying to prove myself as a good hockey player," he said Wednesday night.

The city ended up falling in love with a power forward that personified its toughness and loyalty — oh, and who could score some goals.

Eight years following the trade, Simmonds is considered synonymous with Philly. He returned home Wednesday night as a visiting player, for the first time since being dealt by the Flyers at last season's trade deadline.

The fans at the Wells Fargo Center gave Simmonds a roaring ovation during the first period ... and then he got his boos (which he wanted).

"I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams that they would take to me like they did," Simmonds said before the game. "Obviously it's an honor."

Following back-to-back 30-plus-goal seasons, Simmonds' body went through hell in 2017-18. His production dipped and Simmonds went into 2018-19 — the final year of what turned out to be a bargain contract — without a new deal. The struggling Flyers fired general manager Ron Hextall in late November and hired Chuck Fletcher as his replacement in early December.

At that point, holding on to Simmonds, who turned 31 this summer, seemed unlikely for a team with new management and shifting its focus to 2019-20.

He was traded to the Predators in February and signed by the Devils to a one-year, $5 million deal on July 1.

Most of the dealings we had were with Hexy and they didn't go too well. So when Chuck came in, I think it was a little too far along at that point. I think they were kind of looking to recoup [some assets]. Obviously, I was that player — I don't know how to say it — that they didn’t want me ... but I’m ready to play hockey this year.

I think I deserved a little bit better. I put so much time and sweat and tears into this organization. I thought I did everything I could possibly to at least get a little bit of an extension. But it is a business at the same time. It all just sucks to hear that you’re obviously not thought of how you think you’re thought of. 

I feel great now, to be honest. I’m skating a million times better than I was last year. Doctors told me last year that it would take me six months. It took me six months to heal, not prepare myself for a hockey season. I was in a little bit of a different state mentally and physically but now I’m feeling good.

Here are more sights and scenes from Simmonds' return:

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.

More on the Flyers

Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

usa_oskar_lindblom_flyers.jpg
USA Today Images

Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

Oskar Lindblom, a 23-year-old forward on the Flyers, is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

Below is a statement from Flyers president of hockey operations and general manager Chuck Fletcher:

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania. He will undergo further testing and evaluation next week and begin treatment immediately thereafter. He is not expected to return to play for the remainder of the season. The Flyers will do everything possible to support Oskar and assist him in securing the best care available. Out of respect for Oskar and his family, the team will have no further comment at this time and asks that Oskar be afforded a period of privacy so that he may focus his efforts on his treatment and a return to full health.

Lindblom, a native of Sweden, had been one of the Flyers’ top players through 30 games, scoring 11 goals and 18 points.

He was selected by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and has blossomed into a promising player.

Always smiling, positive and humble, Lindblom is beloved by his teammates. His rise from a fifth-round pick to a difference-making player has been a product of hard work.

After scoring 17 goals last season, sixth most among NHL rookies, Lindblom went back to Gävle, Sweden, to train all summer with his old team Brynäs IF.

"It’s like five minutes from my house," Lindblom said during training camp.

“It was nice to be back home for a bit, just relaxed, had some time with friends and family, so it was great.”

It didn't take long for the Flyers' new coaching staff to fall in love with Lindblom's game as the winger raced out of the chute, scoring in the team's season opener and playing a major role ever since.

“I didn’t know much about Oskar before coming here, but what I’ve found is a real smart, two-way player, hard-working young man," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Oct. 26.

In the summer of 2017, Lindblom talked about his climb within the Flyers' system.

"I just think about it by myself, like fifth-rounder, I just felt like I can play and I can be on this level," Lindblom said.

By the age of 23, he has more than made it on the highest level.

Below is the outpouring of support for Lindblom, via social media:

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.

More on the Flyers

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

BOX SCORE

From the moment it was announced that Oskar Lindblom would miss Wednesday night's game, the Flyers' chances at Pepsi Center felt bleak.

No Lindblom, no Travis Konecny and facing the NHL's highest-scoring team in its building was not a promising script for the Flyers, who lost to the Avalanche, 3-1.

In stretches this season, the Flyers have struggled to bury goals. And that has been with Lindblom and Konecny — their two leading goal-scorers at 11 apiece — in the lineup.

The Flyers (17-9-5) did some good things but Colorado finished plays behind its world class talent up top.

The Avalanche (20-8-3) are on an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) in which they've scored 4.13 goals per game.

• Without Konecny (concussion) and Lindblom (upper body), the Flyers had difficulty putting the puck in the net. They were going to have to put up some goals against the Avalanche, who entered scoring an NHL-best 3.70 goals per game. For the second time in the last three games, the Flyers scored only one goal.

The lone tally came from Claude Giroux when the Flyers were trailing 3-0 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

• Following a first period in which they survived, especially in the back half of it thanks to Carter Hart, the Flyers actually played a solid second period. At one point during the middle stanza, the Flyers were outshooting Colorado 11-0.

But as the Flyers kept pushing to no avail, the Avalanche changed the whole complexion of the period with one play by their two best weapons. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen hooked up for a nasty marker to make it 2-0 with 3:55 left in the period, a deflating goal to allow for the Flyers (see highlights).

Considering Colorado was 14-0-1 when leading after the middle period, the Flyers were in a serious hole, even after a hard-working period.

• Hart, who entered 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts, faced the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

He made a highlight-reel save and gave the Flyers a fighting chance in tough circumstances.

The 21-year-old has been impressive during the first period all season long, allowing the Flyers to find their legs and rhythm. He converted 12 of his 24 saves in the opening stanza against Colorado.

On the Avalanche's first-period goal, Scott Laughton won a defensive zone faceoff but the Flyers failed to clear the puck, resulting in Matt Calvert's tally.

Rantanen added his second goal early in the third period and that was pretty much the game.

Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz, who came in 5-0-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .926 save percentage over his last eight games (six starts), finished with 32 stops.

• When Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day) is ready to return, Robert Hagg should be the odd man out on defense. Shayne Gostisbehere has found some of his offensive mojo and Myers has shown way too much promise to be sitting when healthy.

A stay-at-home guy like Hagg was far too noticeable against the Avalanche. He committed a penalty and was a minus-2 in 15:21 minutes.

• David Kase was summoned to Denver this morning to make his NHL debut and become the ninth rookie to play for the Flyers this season

The 22-year-old winger had a nice scoring chance and two shots in 7:47 minutes. 

• The Flyers head to the old stomping grounds of general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr when they visit the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Fletcher was the GM in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

The Flyers have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29.

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.

More on the Flyers