Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, who, like Lindblom, is a Swede, ordered shirts for him and his teammates. And the Flyers’ arch nemeses, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, took to social media sporting the shirts.
“Jodi joked that for one day, everybody in Philly didn’t hate Sidney Crosby,” Kim Parent said.
Wayne Simmonds, who played in Philadelphia for eight years, ordered the shirts for his Devils teammates soon after Lindblom’s diagnosis. Simmonds said he gained esteem for Lindblom’s desire for personal and professional growth when they were teammates, particularly on an informal team trip to the Bahamas.
“It was a show of solidarity,” said Simmonds, who was traded to Buffalo in February. “New Jersey and Philly, that’s a rivalry, that’s a battle. I thought it would hold a lot of weight for our team to be able to show that support for Oskar. When you chop it up and dissect it, it’s a humanity thing. At that point, hockey wasn’t important.”
The former Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who was part of the rally against Boston in 2010, called Lindblom’s saga “the comeback story of the year.” Timonen would know: His own career was threatened by blood clots and his close friend and Finnish national team teammate Saku Koivu learned that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2001 (Koivu returned to the ice and played until 2014.) Timonen recalled meeting Koivu in Montreal during a road trip while he was playing for Nashville.
“It’s like your family member getting sick,” Timonen said. “He had no hair, he was so pale and sick-looking. It’s really hard to see with all they go through during treatments.”
Another Flyer from that 2010 team, forward Daniel Briere, said he was touched by Lindblom’s return even watching from home.