Oskar Lindblom had to deal with what many people could not imagine dealing with. On December 10, 2019, he was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer, Ewing Sarcoma. It cut what was going to be his breakout year really short. The Flyers were at practice when Lindblom left to get checked and was rushed out back to Philadelphia without any word to the team. It was sudden and fast.
Lindblom soon began fighting another battle away from the ice that not many people can comprehend having to do. It was clear just how much this league was a big family, but even more impressive is just how close this hockey club is. The Flyers were worried about their brother after Lindblom was rushed to Philadelphia and you could tell that their mind was not on the game. My favorite memory during the season came with Lindblom surprising the Flyers in the locker room after the game and Jakub Voracke had the best response to seeing him with just an absolute huge smile.
After battling for months, he finally returned to the ice in September of 2020. Lindblom played two games for the Flyers, game six and seven in the bubble in Toronto against the New York Islanders. It was clear from the first time he stepped on the practice ice with his teammates for the first time since being sent back to Philly almost a year prior, that they missed him and were injected with some life.
The Islanders and Flyers stopped played on Lindblom’s first faceoff and gave him a standing ovation and stick taps. Well deserved for someone so young going through something so life changing. Players, coaches and fans all came out to sing praises and love for Oskar Lindblom. The game of hockey is more than just a game and it was clear throughout the season just how true it was when the Penguins and Devils were wearing “Oskar Strong” t-shirts under their equipment.
Fast forward to the 2020-21 season, Lindblom was back for the first time and getting back into game shape well. You could tell every game that he was getting stronger and faster and getting his legs back underneath of him. In his first game of the new season, he scored a goal when the puck went off of him in front of the net.
In 50 games played, Lindblom scored eight goals and recorded six assists for 14 points. He also had 24 blocks, 43 hits and just nine giveaways. He also became a penalty killer and a defensively responsible player. He has developed into a great two way forward and is a player than any team would love to have for their depth when it gets later into the season.
Lindblom also won the Bill Masterson Trophy as well. He deserved this award for his perseverance and sportmanship. He embodied this award but also was the embodiment of Philly as well. Lindblom will continue to embody the spirit of both and continue to inspire many generations of players and fans to come.
Lindblom looks much stronger and faster this season already. He has been robbed on so many great attempts and has been buzzing as of late. The goal will come and playing with Nate Thompson and Zack MacEwen will help him a lot. The fourth line has been very good for the Flyers and adding Lindblom into the mix will make them even more dangerous. Thompson and MacEwen both have goals from heavy forechecking and creating chaos in the offensive zone.
I have been expecting Lindblom to get his first for the last few games games. He has been a threat for every shift he has had this season and overall he has been good. Once he gets to see that first puck go into the back of the net, you will see multiple pucks go in. Especially with how much Alain Vigneault uses the fourth line, I expect Lindblom to score soon.
It’s been noticed how much his teammates stand up for him as well. We’ve seen players hit Lindblom after the whistle and everyone would converge on said player. He is an inspiration to his teammates and to the rest of the league. Players respect him, as do coaches, and that is the exact reason they do not hold back when he is on the ice.
With this month being for Men’s Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention, there are plenty of people going through this and have gone through it. There are people who made it through and those who ended up losing their battle. But everyone can look at Lindblom as someone to remind themselves to keep fighting and pushing forward. That even when it seems like it is getting really dark, the dawn is right around the corner. Lindblom will be at his two-year mark soon for his cancer diagnosis and will hopefully be at two-years cancer free soon enough as well
Be patient with Lindblom and let him fully heal. It takes about a year for a person to feel normal after chemo. He has surgery during the process as well. Lindblom will be fine and he has begun to seemingly slip back into the form he had before his cancer diagnosis.