Though he’s largely been a non-factor for Chicago this postseason — averaging just 9:25 TOI per night — Kimmo Timonen says he’s more than ready for an increased workload now that Michal Rozsival is done for the playoffs with a fractured ankle.
“If I get more, I get more. If I don’t, I don’t,” Timonen said, per the Sun-Times. “That’s my role and I’m happy to do it. If it’s seven, eight, 12 minutes — that’s more than I was supposed to play this year anyway.
“I’ll take whatever I get.”
Expect defense to be a major story in the Western Conference Final — specifically, the contrasts between Anaheim and Chicago. The Ducks are feeling great about the health and depth; they’re young, they’re fresh, Hampus Lindholm is emerging as a potential star and, should injury hit, the club is more than capable of dealing — trade deadline pickups James Wisniewski and Korbinian Holzer are sitting as healthy scratches, as are veteran Mark Fistric and youngster Josh Manson.
It’s a far different story in Chicago.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has relied heavily on his top four of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Rozsival was often scrutinized by fans and media, but played an integral role as the No. 5 guy and will now likely be replaced by David Rundblad. The 24-year-old Swede did play a fair bit during the regular season but, as Brough pointed out, received protected minutes and started just 20.6 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone.
Which brings the conversation back to Timonen.
There’s an obvious opportunity here for him to see more ice, given almost all of Rozsival’s minutes were at even strength. The 40-year-old insists he’s feeling great and fit enough to be a factor in the Anaheim series, which might be a necessity given how effectively the Ducks rolled their forwards through the first two playoff rounds.
“I’m probably in the past shape I’ve been in years. I feel great,” Timonen said. “Once I get out there I do my job as well as I can. But it hasn’t been easy. It’s a role I’ve never been through before. It takes a little time to get used to it. It’s a lot of mental thinking.
“Every player wants to play more. When you play more you usually play better.”
Related: Rozsival injury puts Chicago blue line that much more under the microscope