Timonen: An All-Star Honor Well Deserved
Kimmo Timonen has been around the league for a long time.
In the midst of his 13th season in the NHL, he was looking forward to the weeklong break that comes every season with the All-Star game.
Any chance for the aging veteran to relax is warmly welcomed.
Unfortunately for Timonen, he won’t be able to enjoy that week off this year.
“To be honest, yeah, there was (consideration to skip the game),” said Timonen. “But talking to my family, and especially my son … he said, ‘You’re going.’ So I don’t think we have any other options.”
Whether he wants to go or not, one thing is clear; Timonen has earned the honor.
With team captain Chris Pronger indefinitely out of the lineup, it has been Timonen who has anchored a young defensive group who has been shaky at times.
Turnovers, coverage breakdowns and failed zone clears are just some of the problems that have summed up the first half of their season. With a large focus on the shortcomings of the group, it has been difficult to be a Flyers defender.
Be that as it may, it hasn’t stopped Timonen from doing everything he can to help improve the unit, even if it means sacrificing his body.
He has blocked 90 shots this season, second on the Flyers only to Matt Carle (98).
Considering his age, it’s amazing that Timonen consistently throws his body in front of shots. After each game, he looks like a mummy with both of knees and elbows wrapped in ice as he awaits treatment from the medical staff.
Not to mention that he hasn’t missed a single game over the last three seasons and has missed a total of seven games during his five years with the team.
His commitment to consistently playing is something that holds the defense together.
Now that he finds himself on the first defensive group, a large responsibility falls onto Timonen’s shoulders, a responsibility that he has admirably taken control of.
Having to play the majority of the ‘hard’ minutes in which he faces the opponent’s strongest players, Timonen has seen copious amounts of time in all situations ranging from even-strength to both special team scenarios.
While his responsibilities are mainly situated in the defensive zone, it hasn’t stopped him from moonlighting as a scorer.
The normally defensive minded Timonen has had a bit of a flare for the offensive as of late.
He has registered points in his last three consecutive games as well as six points in his last seven. Among those efforts were his two-point game against the Boston Bruins on Sunday and a goal against the Minnesota Wild last Tuesday that came off a booming point shot.
For the most part, players like Timonen hover under the radar.
His value can’t easily be determined based on numbers; his contributions as a leader and his ability to shut down the other team’s offense is were his worth truly lies.
While Philadelphia fans respect him, Timonen isn’t at the forefront of minds when it comes to fans league-wide.
That may never change, but his inclusion in this year’s All-Star game is a testament to his invaluable contributions to the Flyers.
It is an honor well deserved.
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