How much more does Kimmo Timonen have left in him?
It’s hard to believe, but this coming year will mark Kimmo Timonen’s fifth season as a Philadelphia Flyer. In Kimmo’s tenure with the Flyers, he has played in 321 regular season games, 53 playoff games, and one Olympic tournament. Needless to say, that is a lot of hockey. Add into the equation the fact the Timonen is currently 36 years of age and playing a style of hockey that easily takes a toll on his body, and questions are bound to come up.
So is there a cause for concern? And how much does Timonen really have left in the tank?
The Flyers went from a team built to win the Stanley Cup right now to a team with many questions heading into the 2011-12 season. No one can say that the Flyers are more poised to win the Stanley Cup this time around than they were last season, and there is no player on this Flyers roster quite as hungry for a championship than Kimmo Timonen. This makes for a not so crystal clear future for the Finnish defenseman.
It’s obvious that predicting how much Timonen has left in him is just as impossible as it is to predict where the Flyers will finish this coming season. Even Kimmo probably can’t say for sure yet.
But there are a few reasons to not be worried one bit about what the future holds for Timonen.
This time last year, Kimmo Timonen was quoted in a story by @EuroFlyers where he said how he was still mentally and physically drained and not yet ready for the long hull of another season. The fact that a player of his caliber and of his age is willing to listen to his body no matter how bad he wants to win says a lot. Timonen is not a guy that is going to hurt his team by playing when he is incapable. So while things may not go the way Timonen dreams in his head, he is not going to hurt his team by chasing that dream when he really can’t do it anymore.
While Timonen knows how to listen to what his body is telling him, he still has that warrior instinct in him. He has played with a broken toe, a sore leg, a sore back. No one knows the injuries that he pushes through. And if no one else can tell, then there is nothing wrong with playing through an injury when need be. He is a hockey player after all.
Another thing great about Timonen is that while his offensive production has declined a bit each season with the orange and black, he has not become ineffective. Timonen does not need to be the number one point guy on the power play to have success. It sounds way too cliché, but it really is the little things that he does that matter. It’s blocking shots, making the outlet pass to get the puck out of the defensive zone, or bailing out his goaltending that make him still one of the top 4 guys on the blueline for Philadelphia.
Easily if the Flyers were to win the Stanley Cup in 2012, Kimmo Timonen would retire. But if that does not happen, there is still a chance he could be back for the final year of his contract to try one more time to achieve his ultimate goal in 2013. Time will tell just how much Timonen has left in the tank. There is no denying that his game is declining and that his body is feeling the results of 12 NHL seasons. But Kimmo Timonen is not done until he is done. However many more games he plays for the Flyers his presence will be valued. The Flyers are still lucky to have a player like him on their roster no matter how old he may be. His career is obviously coming to an end soon, but there is no reason to think that far ahead just yet.