Multiple sources today confirmed that the Flyers veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots in his lower right leg and both of his lungs. Timonen is currently in Finland getting treated, but this is a slightly recurring issue for the now 39 year old. Back in 2008 Timonen had a clot in his left ankle that sidelined him for four games in the playoffs.
“Obviously, you can’t replace a player that does what Kimmo does for us,” A quote from then GM Paul Holmgren in ’08 that is still completely relevant today.
Obviously that was a rather minor issue, but that was so many years ago. Now people are predicting Timonen’s probable retirement. With his age and the fact that this was likely his last season, it might be a good idea to just focus on his health and not hockey. It’s the best idea, hockey isn’t that important certainly not more important than a good long life.
This news is made a little more worrying because of the recent stories about NFL guard Jason Pinkston being forced to retire because of blood clots in the lungs at only age 26! Back in 2013 Pittsburgh goalie Tomas Vokun said that he’d almost died from blood clots and the decision for him would be easy if doctors told him he should retire. We have to hope that the decision would be just as easy for Timonen.
What does this mean for the Flyers blue line? Well the weak D group just got a little weaker, and we’ll likely see MacDonald or Coburn getting a substantial increase in ice time. The Flyers still have nowhere to go cap wise, so the only options for a Timonen replacement would be either:
1. Hextall goes for a trade- The only problem is that the Flyers now desperately need a top 4 defenseman and that’s going to take a lot to get. There’s noone who could really replace Timonen, but we need someone to fill that spot and another mediocre 5th or 6th man isn’t gonna help.
2. Force a prospect up early- Hextall has said that there is no way that he’ll be rushing the defensive prospects into the lineup. Let’s see if he sticks to that now, hopefully he does.
It’s be great for him to go for a free agent type like Michael Del Zotto, but again the Flyers don’t really have the cap space to add anyone to the roster.
Besides all the hockey issues the Flyers are gonna have this season, the main focus should be that Timonen gets healthy and stays healthy. If it’s minor and doctors clear him to play, fine good, but he should still be careful. If the doctors say he should retire, then I would gladly watch him retire if it means he stays healthy.
Our prayers and best wishes go out to Timonen. Here’s to a speedy recovery.