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Short Shifts

Zibanejad, Rangers don OskarStrong T-shirts in support of rival Lindblom

Center shared photo of six New York players honoring Flyers forward recently diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Mika Zibanejad and the New York Rangers proved once again that fighting cancer is more important than one of the NHL's fiercest rivalries.

Zibanejad and five of his New York Rangers teammates wore OskarStrong shirts under their jerseys in support of Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom during their game against the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Monday.

Jesper Fast, Tony DeAngelo, Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome and Brady Skjei joined Zibanejad in wearing the shirts, which honor Lindblom, who recently was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

Instagram from @zibanejad93: Some things are bigger than hockey. We're all #oskarstrong, today and every day. 💜💜💜 @nyrangers @philadelphiaflyers @oskarlindblom

"Even if you don't know him you're certainly touched by it and affected by it," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "We've all been affected by cancer in some way, shape or form. Not only our guys but I think the hockey community rallies around anybody in the situation he's in. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the organization, him and the family. I'm not surprised our guys are standing by him."

Zibanejad, like Lindblom, was born in Sweden.

"Being a Swede, I've followed him since before he got here (NHL)," Zibanejad said. "It doesn't matter what team or if you're rivals, it's tough to see happen. You want to somehow show support."

Flyers forward Kevin Hayes, who played the previous five seasons with the Rangers, wasn't surprised to see his former teammates honoring Lindblom. He's also been impressed by the support Lindblom has received League-wide.

"It's a first-class organization," he said of the Rangers. "But it's a first-class League. The way that the hockey community comes together for this situation ... it's impressive. It's a battle he's going to fight, but he knows this organization and every organization in the League is standing there with him and wishing him nothing but the best. 

"The way that the NHL has handled this just shows the type of players these guys are. Oskar is a great guy, a great teammate. We all miss him in here. For guys over there to wear some Oskar T-shirts is cool; it's impressive. We're going out there to battle but I think everyone knows there's bigger thing in life than just hockey. 

More than $100,000 has been raised for Hockey Fights Cancer through sales of the shirts at Biscuit Tees. The shirts come in long- and short-sleeve, and are available for men, women and children.

Kim Parent, co-owner the Philadelphia-based T-shirt company, said she's also heard from the New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild about players on those teams wanting the shirts.

"It would be so amazing if we could have guys in every locker room showing their support for Oskar," Parent said. "I think that would be so awesome."

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