Kimmo Timonen is 37 years old, a veteran of nearly 1,000 games and coming off back surgery.
So, no surprise he’s approaching a (potential) compacted 48-game season with trepidation.
“It won’t be that easy,” Timonen told the Courier-Post. “That’s going to be probably four or five games a week sometimes. That’s way less than 82 games, but 48 in a short period of time might be even worse for me.”
Timonen’s heading into the final year of a six-year, $38 million deal, and the Flyers have gotten their money’s worth. He’s only missed 13 games since coming to Philadelphia in 2007, and appeared in all 64 postseason contests.
As for this year — if the league was to resume on the proposed Jan. 19 date, it would require all games to be played in roughly four-and-a-half months, similar to what happened during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season.
That could be tough on the Finnish rearguard, according to the Post:
Timonen underwent surgery last May to remove a disc fragment from his lower back. He’s been 100 percent healthy for months.n mid-December, he took time off to be a more active hockey dad to his 13-year-old son, who is playing for an area youth team coached by former Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher.
“I’ve got to be honest, there were a lot of weekends where I didn’t miss hockey at all,” Timonen said. “Following my son, going to tournaments … we drove to a tournament in Canada last week … I’ve been having a good time.”
Timonen’s comments echo those made by a number of veteran players around the league.
For the older guys, being away from the game for an extended period is a double-edged sword: great for rest and recuperation, awful for when it’s time to get back into shape.
There’s also a sense many older players have used the lockout as a time to prep for the inevitable — retirement.
That’s something Jamie Langenbrunner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last month.
“I think this time also prepares you for it,” he explained. “I’ve gotten involved in coaching the kids’ teams and quite frankly, I’ve gotten to enjoy that aspect of it.
“You realize there is going to be an end to this [lockout] at some point. But it makes me feel when the end [of his career] does come, I’ll be prepared for that.”