Kimmo Timonen may never skate with the Philadelphia Flyers again.
After feeling some discomfort in his right leg, the 39-year-old checked himself into a hospital. The diagnosis not only put his hockey career in jeopardy but also his life.
Doctors ran tests and diagnosed Timonen with blood clots in his right leg and both lungs. He was released from the hospital a day later after receiving treatments.
Few players garner the respect of fans and players like Kimmo Timonen. He is the definition of class on and off the ice. It was one thing for a player to take a run at or instigate with Zac Rinaldo, it was a whole different story when Timonen was the target.
How dare they attack a player of Timonen’s character?!
Timonen, one of the most beloved players in Flyers history, came to Philadelphia the year after the team went 22-48-12. The Nashville Predators shipped Timonen and Scott Hartnell to Philadelphia in exchange for the first-round selection they had originally traded in the Peter Forsberg deal.
General manager Paul Holmgren signed Timonen, then the most-prized free-agent defensemen, to a six-year deal, and Timonen became the leading man on the Flyers blue line.
In what may have been his final season as a pro, Timonen continued to prove, at 38, he was the best defenseman on the team. His game may have regressed, but his poise with the puck, defensive acumen and willingness to put his body on the line made him irreplaceable.
Kimmo Timonen played through almost every injury imaginable.
Blood clots. A fractured foot. Multiple slap shots to the shins. Timonen always came back and played the next night.
One of Timonen’s most endearing qualities was his goal celebrations. Anytime he would slip one by the opposing goaltender, he would thrust his arms into the air, as if he scored his first goal in the NHL. His passion for the game was contagious.
Timonen deserves better than this. He deserves to skate onto the ice one final time. He deserves to leave the game on his own terms.
All of us at Broad Street Buzz wish a full recovery to Kimmo Timonen, and hope to see him in Philadelphia with a full bill of health.
Personal memory with Kimmo Timonen.
I was able to meet Timonen at the Flyers Wives Carnival. My father and I had served as photographers at the Carnival before and we took the photo booth that featured Timonen, Max Talbot and Mike Knuble.
Timonen was reserved, but courteous to every fan who came to see him. He picked up the young children, despite wearing a walking boot, and spoke to each of the volunteers with respect.
As a former defenseman, I was in awe of Timonen. His poise and calm demeanor on the ice is what I tried to mimic whenever I played. I just hope I did not come off as “that fan.” If I did, well, Timonen never let it show. A class act on and off the ice.