VOORHEES, N.J. – When someone has gone through the minefield Oskar Lindblom had to navigate, the roughhouse sport of hockey must feel like a game of checkers.
After more than six months of chemotherapy treatments, the Flyers’ talented forward came out of it in one piece, albeit gaunt and a bit light in the hairstyle.
He completed his battle with Ewing’s sarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) and even managed to get into the final two games of the Flyers-Islanders playoff conference semifinal series.
Now, just four months later, the Swede looks much more like himself, having put on weight, muscle and a bit more foliage on his scalp.
There were a lot of smiles during a media Zoom call after Monday’s training camp session at the Skate Zone.
And why not? In many respects, the clouds have parted and Lindblom’s usual sunny personality has returned.
“Oskar has looked great,’’ coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s been here for quite some time, skating a lot, seems to be in real good condition.
“I’ve had a couple talks with him as to where he is and how he feels. As far as I can tell – and today was the first day I was on the ice with him – he looked real good, strong, powerful. I think he’s cleared, good to go and really anxious for a full season with his teammates.’’
The 24-year-old Lindblom opened some eyes last season, especially given the fact he wasn’t drafted until the fifth round (138th overall) back in 2014.
He had scored 11 goals in just 30 games back in the fall of 2019 when the diagnosis hit.
Is he close to where he was then?
“It’s hard to say,’’ he said, “but I had a good offseason. My goal is to start playing the first game but it’s for the coach to decide. We’ll see, but I’m doing my best out there.’’
Lindblom said he’s in better condition than when he played in the two Toronto bubble games back in the late summer against the Islanders.
“A big difference,’’ he said. “I only had two weeks to work out (in Toronto) with the team at that point.
“Now I’ve been home for a couple months (in Sweden). I’ve been able to skate and work out. It’s a big difference. . .I feel more powerful.’’
Lindblom spent the short offseason lifting weights and trying to build his strength.
“It’s been fun to be on the same schedule as before, beats sitting around the apartment and doing nothing.
“I feel good, better everyday. I’m working hard and see how it goes.’’
Lindblom knows it might take some time to get back to the form he had back in late 2019.
“I push myself pretty hard,’’ he said. “It could take awhile but I want to be at that right spot. I’ll do my best and hopefully get there right away.
>Konecny, Giroux score
Travis Konecny and Claude Giroux scored goals to give Team A (orange) a 2-1 win over Team B (black) in Monday’s scrimmage. The Flyers are conducting a game-like scrimmage each day in lieu of preseason games.