The Flyers will play Game 4 of their second-round series against the Islanders at 8 p.m. ET Sunday. Earlier in the day, coach Alain Vigneault was asked if there would be lineup changes.
“We’re still in the process,” he said, almost foreshadowing what may be to come. “Obviously because of the NHL protocol here, I can’t comment on player availability. I would say (to) tune in tonight and find out.”
Well, with the Flyers trailing 2-1 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series, they may be getting a lift from an unexpected source.
About 5:30 p.m. ET, the team tweeted out the following images:
That hidden player working on his stick is Oskar Lindblom, and his jersey and equipment are hanging all the way to the right in the picture showing the locker room. Based on these photos, there’s a good chance he’ll at least take warmups, if not play in the game.
Lindblom hasn’t played an NHL game since Dec. 7, 2019, after it was announced he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that grows in the bones or soft tissue around the bones. At the time of his diagnosis, he was tied for the team lead with 11 goals and was on pace for a career season on the scoresheet. In his third NHL season, he had already surpassed his previous highs with three power-play goals and four power-play points.
Following the diagnosis, the NHL united under the hashtag #OSKARSTRONG.
Amazing feeling when ringing the bell today! I can’t even explain how thankful I am for the doctors, nurses and everyone else that have helped me these past 6 month’s.
A post shared by Oskar Lindblom (@oskarlindblom) on
Lindblom completed chemotherapy at the beginning of July and, after signing a three-year, $9 million contract on July 22, was named to the Flyers’ roster for the Stanley Cup playoffs. A finalist for the 2020 Masterton Trophy, he joined the team during its first-round matchup with the Canadiens.
“To be honest, I have no idea,” Lindblom said when asked on Aug. 16 when he could return to the lineup. “It can take just a couple of weeks, some months, I don’t know yet. We’ll see how I feel when I start skating here for real with the team and we’ll take it from there. I’m not going to stress anything here; just take it slow and see what happens.
“I think it’s a little bit of everything here. I just feel like I need to be strong enough that I can put myself in a situation where I’m good enough to play. I don’t want to be out there if I’m not going to help the team or put myself in a tough spot. As long as I feel ready and my body is strong enough, I think I would put myself out there, but otherwise, I’ll keep practicing and work myself up.”
Sunday could be the day he returns.
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