Inspiration is a word with a lot of levels of meaning.
It can be a beautiful work of art, a soldier safely home from combat or maybe an athlete who’s overcome the ultimate adversity, cancer.
Which is why when the Flyers host the NHL’s “Hockey Fights Cancer Night’’ program tonight it will have special meaning and inspiration to everyone involved with hockey in and around Philadelphia.
A sold-out Wells Fargo Center will be celebrating the continued good health of Flyers left wing Oskar Lindblom, who battled through Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, over the past two years.
Part of a video tribute for Lindblom planned, The native of Sweden says he appreciates the support.
“It’s going to be fun,’’ Lindblom said after the morning skate prior to the game against Tampa Bay. “Hopefully it’s going to be a good atmosphere. For everything I went through and people around the world, it’s a great thing to do.’’
Lindblom was initially diagnosed in December, 2019 and needed seven months of chemotherapy treatments to beat the deadly disease.
“I went through it and I got out of it,’’ said Lindblom, who won last season’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for traits including perseverance. “Some people don’t. So you have to look at life in a good way. I found a way – enjoy it and love the people around you. That’s all I think about and I am lucky I came out the good side.’’
Playing the two-time Stanley Cup champ Lightning should add to the upbeat vibe in the building.
“I hope it’s going to be a good game, come out and get a win,’’ Lindblom said.
Lindblom has yet to score a goal this season but he’s had his share of opportunities. He actually was scratched from Tuesday’s game against Calgary as coach Alain Vigneault gave him a night off to “reset”.
“I’ve been playing good, getting chances,’’ he said. “I can’t get the puck in but I think that’s going to come if I keep doing the things I am doing. Tonight would be good to score the first one.’’
Vigneault has no issue with Lindblom’s work ethic.
“Oskar has done a lot of the right things on the ice,’’ Vigneault said. “He just hasn’t been able to get the results, the reward for that hard effort. I believe in Oskar, he has all the tools. He’s going to work his way back to the player that he was.’’
>Ellis out four to six weeks
Vigneault disclosed defenseman Ryan Ellis will need four to six weeks to rehab his hip/groin injury. For now, surgery is not being discussed as an option.
Vigneault indicated he might have to scratch another player for the Lightning game but would not identify that player until warm-up.
>Shades of 2019
Vigneault was asked if this year’s team aspires to play a strong two-way game as it did in the 2019-20 season.
“We’re trying to become the solid team we were my first year,’’ Vigneault said. “We were able to defend, we were able to generate enough attack to score enough goals. We’re in that process right now, we’re building our identity. We’re working extremely hard at both ends. Like any team you have to progress. If you don’t progress, you don’t get into the playoffs. I believe we’re building and we are building the right way right now.’’