As I’m sitting here watching the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade, my first thoughts go to Kimmo Timonen. Eight years ago today, him and Scott Hartnell were traded here from the Nashville Predators. He became a fan favorite almost instantly.
Philly has a reputation for being a tough city to play in. The fans here don’t sugarcoat anything. If we don’t like you, you’ll know. If we don’t think you’re playing to your potential, we’ll boo the hell out of you. I don’t remember a single time when Kimmo was booed or disliked.
Kimmo has dedicated 24 years to this sport. He’s played in 1,108 NHL regular season games, where he has 571 career points. He’s played in more than 100 career playoff games.
When the trade deadline approached, I wanted him traded. Not because I didn’t like him, but because he’s one of my favorites to ever put on a Flyers sweater. I wanted him to have a chance to lift and skate the Stanley Cup. When the trade was announced, I was beyond happy for him.
I’m not, never was, and never will be a Blackhawks fan. I chose to hop on that bandwagon for Kimmo. I wanted to see someone who has given so much to the sport finally win.
He’s been part of many championship games. Whether it was World Juniors, Worlds, the Olympics, or a Stanley Cup. He’s always come up short of winning the ultimate prize. That all changed on Monday. He was finally able to lift the Stanley Cup.
If I were to say tears didn’t well up when that clock hit 0:00, I’d be lying. If I were to say I didn’t lose it when Toews handed the cup to Kimmo, that’d be an even bigger lie. I did cry. I cried tears of happiness for Kimmo.
I’ve seen too many people say he didn’t earn it because he wasn’t on the team until the trade deadline. I’ve seen people say that he doesn’t count because he didn’t play every game. To you I say, he deserves it because he’s had a career that’s earned it.
His career could have ended when he was diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and lung. It didn’t. He came back. He was finally able to skate, and he was able to return to the game he loves.
I do wish he was here in Philly with this win. I wish the city that loved him on and off the ice for eight years could have witnessed the parade live, but we couldn’t. As much as it stings, I’m very happy for him. He will forever be in the hearts of many Flyers fans. Congratulations, Kimmo, you have earned it.