Oskar Lindblom joins Konecny, Flyers On Ice

Image via Twitter

Sunday’s morning skate was set to be a rather mundane affair with a day-of media availability with head coach Alain Vigneault serving as the lone opportunity to learn of any lineup adjustments. Worth hopping on the call? Sure. Worth any excitement? Certainly not. That was, at least, until the email came through that AV wasn’t the only one set to take questions.

Welcome to the Bubble, Oskar.

After months of a battle against Ewing sarcoma, Oskar Lindblom was back on the ice with his teammates and coaches inside of the Toronto bubble:

Lindblom admitted that finding time on ice throughout the pandemic was difficult, but he looked fluid in video provided by the team:

There were some interesting tidbits that came from Lindblom’s availability with the media.

His Teammates Were Critical in His Fight

Oskar noted just how involved his teammates made him feel, despite him not being around the team for months. He said they made him feel like he was still an important part of the team, which helped keep his spirits high through the difficulties of chemotherapy treatment.

Don’t Expect Him to Rush It

Although GM Chuck Fletcher has stated on numerous occasions that he expects Oskar to get on the ice at some point, with head coach Alain Vigneault speaking frequently about Lindblom’s determination to get back to some normalcy, the player himself doesn’t want anyone to think his return is imminent:

I, for one, am glad Lindblom is trying to set some quasi-realistic expectations. When I tweeted earlier today that he was going to be available to the media and later that he was on ice, questions about his availability for Game 3 immediately popped up. Sure, he wants to get himself to game conditioning, but there’s still plenty of strength and muscle mass he needs to build back up before he can even consider putting himself in position to play meaningful hockey again.

Seeking Advice from a Cross-State Rival

When asked if he had sought out advice from other professional athletes who battled cancer, Lindblom noted that early in the process, he talked to a few players including a the greatest Pittsburgh Penguin of all time:

Good on Mario Lemieux for being a valuable resource in the young man’s battle.

The Itch to Return

When Lindblom finished treatment, he let the team know he wanted to be with family and friends in Sweden before joining the team in the Toronto bubble, a request that the Flyers were more than happy to accommodate:

Could anyone have blamed him if he’d have had a change of heart and opted to take himself out of consideration to be on the playoff roster after everything he’d been through? If nothing else, it sounds like the visit was therapeutic and reignited the internal fire to get back on the ice with his teammates.

TK Looks OK

Let’s go back to that last clip from the Lindblom roll. You might have noticed one guy going bonkers with his stick smashing into the ice. That appeared to be none other than Travis Konecny:

We hadn’t gotten any updates since Konecny came out of Game 2 with an apparent foot injury that left him leaving the ice without being able to put any weight on it.

This would appear to be a positive sign as the Flyers could certainly use their leading scorer from the regular season as they look for a breakthrough in Game 3.

Game 3 Lineup Adjustments?

Alain Vigneault was asked if there were any lineup adjustments planned ahead of Game 3. While he was cryptic in regards to the status of Michael Raffl on Saturday, he provided an interesting response when asked about defenseman Robert Hägg:

“If we need him.” Sure sounds like Shayne Gostisbehere is going to be back in the lineup. Or maybe it’s just gamesmanship to mess with Habs coach Kirk Muller.

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