Let’s start this off by simply stating it’s strictly a personal opinion piece and has nothing to do with what 30 or so Philadelphia Flyers players might be thinking less than a month from now.
But privately, my contention that a sort of “Win One for the Gipper’’ mentality might be permeating their locker room for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs just may align with some of these icers’ sentiments.
We’re speaking about the timing of the end of chemotherapy treatments for Oskar Lindblom, who recently rang a bell at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia to signify that landmark occasion.
Since December it’s been no secret this Flyers team, particularly the players of Lindblom’s early-20s age group, has drawn inspiration from the Swede’s courage in battling Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare, hideous form of bone cancer.
No one should ever have to go through something like this, let alone a world-class athlete who appeared to be making a breakthrough into a promising National Hockey League career.
From the get-go, players showed their support for Lindblom by wearing Oskar Strong #23 T-shirts and praising him for his perseverance.
The Flyers’ media unanimously voted him the team’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication. And some believe he has a good chance to win.
It’s unclear at this time if Lindblom will be around the team much after things officially get underway in Toronto on Aug. 1. But wouldn’t it be something if players such as Sean Couturier could connect with the talented left wing teammate, even if through Zoom calls?
Couturier, speaking during a Friday call with the Flyers’ public relations department, said he saw the video of Lindblom ringing the bell at the hospital and acknowledged it was emotional.
“Awesome video, got some chills,’’ Couturier said. “It’s a tough thing to do through in life and he went through it and fought through it like a champ. “Good for him, he’s back to being healthy. Some people are not as fortunate as him.
“It’s nice to see him ringing that bell and having smiles. We get to hang out with him and see him more often. Get him soon back in our lineup. So it was really exciting to see him that happy that day. Hopefully we can see him back with us soon.’’
Think of this image: Even though it’s not the Wells Fargo Center, think of the reaction if the Flyers were to win the Cup sometime around Oct. 13 in Toronto and the first person Claude Giroux hands the Cup to is Lindblom.
Oskar smiles and lifts the trophy above his head in triumph. Two victories in one year. Philadelphia wouldn’t sleep for days.
>Playoff schedule announced
Speaking of the Stanley Cup, the NHL/NHLPA ratified its Return to Play agreement on Friday night and the schedule is out. The Flyers will open round robin play with a game against the Boston Bruins on Aug. 2.
Then it’s a game against the Washington Capitals on Aug. 6, followed by one more against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Aug. 9.
Other dates of note: First round, Aug. 11; Second round, Aug. 25; Conference finals, Sept. 8; Stanley Cup Final, Sept. 22. The NHL Entry Draft will be held Oct. 9-10.
The Flyers are scheduled to open their training camp on Monday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. The practice sessions will not be open to the public.