Oskar Lindblom Returns to the Ice for Flyers
There are certainly a lot of questions still surrounding the resumption of play for the Flyers and the NHL during the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, despite 11 positive tests out of an excess of 200 tested, the league has moved forward with Phase 2 and still has sights set on starting Phase 3 on July 10.
This has certainly not stopped Flyers players from returning to Voorhees. After six players were initially at the SkateZone for the start of Phase 2, among them Ivan Provorov, Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee, several more have come in over the last few days including Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Alex Lyon and most recently Carter Hart.
There was another player on the ice among the small groups taking part in New Jersey on Tuesday, and it was probably the most welcome sight there could be. Oskar Lindblom, who exited the lineup after his diagnosis with Ewing’s sarcoma in December, was skating.
“I don't have a lot left, I'm going to be done soon," Lindblom said of his treatments. "I can see the light in the tunnel right now and I'm trying to enjoy my life as it is. I can't complain, I can't complain. People have it worse. I'm just happy to be where I am right now.
"It was great. That's the only thing I'm waiting for right now is to be done with my chemo and get back with the team and play some hockey. That would be unreal to get back to real life again and have fun.”
Lindblom said he has skated only three or four times since his diagnosis. It is very likely that he had the approval of doctors before taking the ice with a small group of teammates.
GM Chuck Fletcher offered some comments on Lindblom’s return to the ice.
“It was great to see him out there,” Fletcher said. “He looked really good on the ice, his hands are still there. It is remarkable to think that with all the treatments that he has had he was able to go out there today and still show the skill and still have the stamina to skate for about 35-40 minutes. It’s a great sign for him and very exciting to think that with all going well in the future he’s going to return to play for us. Obviously, Phase 2 is voluntary and every player and staff member must follow very strict guidelines and rules. Our practice facility is a very safe environment, safer than most places.”
As of Tuesday, the NHL was permitted teams to allow for groups of 12 players at a time to take the ice as Phase 2 activity ramps up. Previously, only six players maximum were allowed on the ice at one time.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.