Flyers left winger Oskar Lindblom sounded appreciative and hopeful Wednesday morning.
Appreciative that on Tuesday night he had won the Masterton Trophy for his perseverance and dedication to the sport.
Hopeful that, as he approaches his second full season since recovering from a rare bone cancer, his game will get back to the same level it was before his stunning diagnosis in December of 2019.
Saying that winning the Masterton was a “special moment in my life,” Lindblom said with the extra time to regroup and prepare himself this offseason, he hopes to return to the way he was playing early in the 2019-20 season, when he had 11 goals in his first 30 games.
“That’s what I’m aiming for. I want to be the player I was before I got sick,” he said in a Zoom call with reporters from his home in Sweden. “I feel good right now. I’m working out and all that. That’s my goal and I’m going to really push myself this summer to really get back in shape and hopefully I can be the player I was, if not better.”
In last year’s offseason, he was still trying to regain his stamina, and he had some up-and-down days during this season (8 goals, 14 points in 50 games) as his energy level fluctuated following a draining recovery.
Lindblom, 24, was asked what he hopes people take from his remarkable recovery from cancer and his return to such a grueling sport.
“I just try to be positive every day,” he said. “I think I was positive through the whole chemo and the surgery and all that last year, so I try to spread good vibes around me and hopefully people can take that from me.”
He is back in Sweden with family and friends and getting his life back to normal.
“I’m spending time with my family again,” he said. “I’m seeing my grandparents, who I hadn’t seen in almost two years. Just enjoying life and to be able to do what I want to, I feel energized again. That’s a big thing. Hockey-wise, the same thing. I felt I got better at the end of the season, but I know I’ve got a lot more in me, so I just have to keep pushing and get my stamina up and be able to work every day and be able to play my game up there.”
Lindblom said his teammates have helped him every step along the way.
“It’s been huge,” he said. “From the start, it gave me so much energy just to keep me pushing through, especially the first couple days [after his diagnosis]. It was tough for me to kind of soak it all in and see what you have in front of you. But just to have them there and supporting me every day and giving me energy. That was huge for me just to have like my second family over in the U.S. That was great. I appreciate them so much for doing that for me as well.”
After a difficult road trip when the players and Lindblom found out about his cancer in December 2019, the soft-spoken winger said it was uplifting to meet his teammates when they returned to the Wells Fargo Center.
“I remember that moment so good,” he said. “Everyone was so happy to see me and I was so happy to see them, and I felt like they could relax again when they saw me -- and I was feeling pretty good at that time, too. It gave them a little energy, and it gave me energy as well.”
When he watched his first game after his diagnosis and was shown on the Wells Fargo Center’s video scoreboard, he said he was overcome with emotion by the fans’ response.
“The whole Wells Fargo was just standing up and giving me a standing ovation,” he said. “That was something I will never ever forget.”