kimmo timonen

With Timonen shelved, what’s next for Philly?


On Tuesday, the Flyers announced veteran d-man Kimmo Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots in his lower right leg and both lungs, and is currently being treated for the disorder in his native Finland.

While there’s no timetable for Timonen’s return, GM Ron Hetxall said the club views this as a “long-term” situation, suggesting the Flyers are prepared to start the season without the 39-year-old, and possibly play the entire campaign minus his services.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what Philadelphia faces moving forward.

What’s left

Philly’s new projected top-six defense is Mark Streit, Braydon Coburn, Andrew MacDonald, Nicklas Grossmann, Luke Schenn and former Edmonton/Minnesota/Columbus rearguard Nick Schultz, who was signed in free agency. Even with Timonen in the mix, the group wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring — without him, it’s a trouble area for sure as his impact on the club’s possession and shots-for/shots-against metrics were very impressive. You could also pencil him in for 20-22 minutes a night and 35-40 points a year.

Compounding things is Philly’s lack of solutions within the organization. The team has taken d-men with their first picks in consecutive drafts (Samuel Morin in ’13, Travis Sanheim this year), but neither has played a game of professional hockey and aren’t immediate solutions. Highly-touted college standout Shayne Gostisbehere is a little older (21) and a little more experienced, but still only has two games under his belt with AHL Adirondack.

Speaking of Adirondack/Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms present a few other options as well. RFA Brandon Manning’s been up with the Flyers on a few occasions, as has Olivier Lauridsen. Robert Hagg, a Swedish d-man taken in the second round in ’13, played 10 games for the Phantoms last year and could warrant a look too.

What’s out there

Given all the aforementioned names have such little big-league experience, it’s not surprising that Hextall wants to wade into the free agent and trade market:

Bringing someone aboard via either avenue will prove tricky. The Flyers are currently $3 million over the cap but will get LTIR relief from Chris Pronger ($4.9M) and, possibly Timonen ($2M) — which would give Hextall room to work with, albeit not that much. There have been rumblings about Philly having interest in ex-Rangers and Predators rearguard Michael Del Zotto, who could be a good gamble at a relatively low cost given his reputation is “in tatters,” according to the New York Post.

The rest of the available free agents are… well, uninspiring to be totally honest. Sami Salo, Henrik Tallinder, Ed Jovanovski, Derek Morris, Douglas Murray, Francis Bouillon and Shane O’Brien are a few of the names out there, but they’re out there for a reason.

In the end, this is a tough situation for both Timonen and the Flyers and there doesn’t appear to be a quality solution on the horizon. It’s the first real crisis moment in Hextall’s tenure as GM, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.

NHL on NBCSN ’15-16 coverage begins tonight with doubleheader

Corey Crawford, Derek Stepan
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After months of waiting, we’re finally ready to begin the 2015-16 campaign and NBCSN will kick off its coverage with a doubleheader tonight.

The action will begin with the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the New York Rangers, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chicago has been called a dynasty by some for winning the Stanley Cup three times over the last six campaigns, but one thing that the Blackhawks haven’t done is successfully defend a title. The last team to do so was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 before the salary cap era kicked off. That change was on display this summer as the Blackhawks were forced to move or otherwise walk away from Johnny Oduya, Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, and Brandon Saad in the name of cap compliance.

Even after losing all those pieces of their 2015 championship team though, Chicago has emerged from the summer with much of its core intact. It also has some promising new players, such as 23-year-old KHL star Artemi Panarin, who is attempting to make the leap to the NHL after outscoring former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk on his way to leading SKA St. Petersburg to a KHL championship.

The New York Rangers should be a great first test for the Blackhawks as they begin their new quest. The Rangers advanced to at least the Eastern Conference Final in three of the last four years, but they haven’t earned a championship since 1994. With Henrik Lundqvist set to celebrate his 34th birthday in March, the Rangers’ window for winning the Cup in front of their all-star goaltender is closing and thus the stakes are high for New York this season.

Starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will air the San Jose Sharks’ contest against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. This is the second straight year that these two teams have been matched for the opener, but this time it’s under much different circumstances.

A year ago, Los Angeles had its sights set on defending its title while the Sharks were seeking revenge after suffering a reverse sweep in the first round against the Kings. In the end, neither team had the season they were looking for as they both fell short of the playoffs.

For the Sharks, that miss ended a playoff streak that dated back to the 2003-04 campaign while Los Angeles suffered its first major setback since it celebrated its first championship in 2012. Both teams have to be hungry to bounce right back this season and given that each both of these squads are certainly capable of obtaining that goal. First though, they need to settle the latest chapter of their rivalry.

PHT Morning Skate: Remembering 10 years of Crosby, Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Here’s a detailed look back at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin‘s first 10 years in the NHL. (

Speaking of Crosby, he’s signed a multiyear partnership with adidas. (Newswire)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play a key role in easing Connor McDavid into the NHL. (Edmonton Sun)

After two polar opposite seasons, the jury is still out on Patrick Roy as a head coach. (Denver Post)

Marc-Andre Fleury enjoys pulling off pranks on his teammates. “I play better when I’m looser, laughing and having fun,” he said. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Art McDonald, a Canadian who won recently won a Nobel Prize, talked to the committee members about the Toronto Maple Leafs. (SB Nation)