PHILADELPHIA – The way it ended for Oskar Lindblom after a five-year stay in Philadelphia might have been bitter, but the lasting memories always will be sweet.
It was here where Lindblom rose to glory as a Flyer, then waged a successful battle with a rare form of bone cancer.
But when the Flyers decided to buy out the final year of his contract last summer (providing salary cap space to acquire defenseman Tony DeAngelo), Lindblom was caught more than a bit off-guard.
Maybe the departure just might turn out to be a blessing.
Having found a new home with the San Jose Sharks, Lindblom probably will have a more prominent role on a team which is struggling in the standings at the moment.
However it turns out, Philadelphia will always have a special place in Lindblom’s heart.
“I was here five years and had a lot of great times,’’ said Lindblom on his first visit back to Philadelphia on Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Center. “All of the sports here, it’s like a big family. You can have downs and ups but they’re always going to be there for you. It was a great time here and the fans were awesome to me.’’
The Sharks didn’t arrive in Philadelphia until late Saturday night so there wasn’t any time for Lindblom to catch up with his ex-teammates before the game. He was hoping to connect with some after the game.
“It was kind of tough, we got in late last night,’’ he said. “I didn’t have a lot of time to do anything. I just walked around and saw some of the places I’ve been to.’’
When Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher decided to part ways with Lindblom, it was strictly a business decision and certainly one which had a lot of emotion connected to it for both men.
“I didn’t expect it,’’ Lindblom admitted. “But sometimes it’s a busisness. You can’t really do much about that. You have to just try to keep grinding. I signed with San Jose and I was happy about that. Hopefully I can have a great season.’’
From a medical standpoint, the Swede continues to enjoy good health. All of his tests after overcoming Ewing’s sarcoma have gone well.
“I’m feeling better this year,’’ he said. “My tests have been way better. These first couple games have been better, too. I feel good. . .now it’s just the mental part and trying to get the confidence back.’’
>DeAngelo big Phillies fan
DeAngelo, a native of South Jersey with family roots in South Philadelphia, was asked prior to the game if he was keeping his eye on the Phillies game.
He said he had been watching the game earlier in the afternoon but it was getting too close to game time to really pay attention.
Was he a big fan growing up?
“Huge,’’ he said. “All four sports really. Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Sixers. I was there when the Phillies won in ’08, too. Kind of got the same vibes right now. Hopefully they get this one done today. I don’t think we’re going to be home though. I’ve already looked at the schedule. We’re not going to be available, so that’s too bad.’’
He said watching other home teams do well can be exciting.
“You want to be at that spot somewhere in your career, in any sport, it doesn’t matter which you’re in,’’ he said. “So it’s been pretty cool to watch, they’ve been playing great. It’s good for the city as well.
The Flyers’ power play has looked better this season with DeAngelo at the controls. He knew he would be in charge of this particularly role as soon as he got here.
“I think that’s the reason most teams go after me. I think we’re off to a good start. There’s a lot of room for improvement. It’s a real good start for five guys who haven’t spent much time together. Power play is such a big part of the game, makes such a big difference. I think it (our PP) has been good so far, we have to keep going like this.”