Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen is undecided about whether this will be the final season of his stellar 15-year NHL career.
But he admitted if the Flyers overcame the odds and won the Stanley Cup, it would be “the perfect way to leave the game.”
His decision “comes to the summertime for me,” he said after Tuesday’s morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers were preparing to face the New Jersey Devils. “I want to see how we do in the last 18 games. I want to feel the playoff atmosphere. That’s a goal where I want to be, and hopefully we get there with this team. Because once you get in the playoffs, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You have as good as chance as anybody once you get in.”
Physically, Timonen _ who can become an unrestricted free agent in July _ has not had many problems this season. But the off-season work to prepare for another year can be daunting task to someone who is almost 40.
“I feel great,” he said. “It’s not just how I feel now; it’s that if I’m getting ready for another season to play another 82 games, that’s a long run. I’m going to put that behind now and think about it in the summertime.”
The fact he has never put his name on the Stanley Cup, Timonen said, is “why I’m still here. It keeps me motivated every night, thinking about it, that I still have a chance to get it. Hopefully, it’s this year.”
Timonen, who turns 39 next Tuesday, said he still wants to remaining playing at a “high level. And I have to figure out in the summer” if he wants to go another season. “There’s a lot of different issues. I have to talk with my family. My son is getting to the age where he’s moving out of home pretty soon and I haven’t seen him play in four months.”
Entering Tuesday, Timonen, arguably the Flyers’ best defenseman this season, had four goals, 26 points and a plus-5 rating.
Flyers coach Craig Berube said Timonen is playing like someone who has another year left in him _ if he chooses it. “He looks good. Looks like he has a lot of life out there and a lot of jump,” Berube said.
“It’s never easy to leave the game,” Timonen said. “Sometimes it gets to the point where you have to say it’s enough and move on and do some other stuff in your life and focus on your family. This job takes a lot of time away from your family.”
VandeVelde recalled. The Flyers recalled Chris VandeVelde from the Phantoms. Rosters can expand after the trade deadline, so VandeVelde may just be here as an extra player.
Breakaways. Steve Mason (2.63 GAA, .913 save percentage) will face Devils legend Martin Brodeur (2.54, .898) on Tuesday. “Any time you look down the ice and see Marty Brodeur in the net, especially for me, a young guy, it’s pretty cool,” Flyers center Brayden Schenn said, adding there was “extra motivation to try to score on Marty Brodeur.”…Berube said he wouldn’t mind if the rules were changed to add a three-on-three segment to the overtime….Former Flyer Jaromir Jagr, 42, who is the Devils’ leading scorer with 55 points, said he hopes to re-sign with New Jersey, calling it his first choice. Jagr greeted Philly reporters with: “You miss me and Bryz?!” He later said he could play 10 more years. He was kidding, we think....The Flyers' March 30 home game against Boston has been changed from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. because it's on NBC.
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