CHICAGO — Kimmo Timonen will play for the Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“He gives us some predictability,” head coach Joel Quennville said of Timonen on Wednesday, confirming the veteran d-man would play tonight. “I think his coverage in the D zone, strength in the puck area. He’s smart, experienced.
“I think he did a good job for us throughout the playoffs. Gives him a chance to get in here in an good moment, a big moment. His reads and his position awareness and coverage in his own end will help him.”
So we know Timonen’s in, but the rest is uncertain. There’s been no firm update on the health of Johnny Oduya, who was injured during Game 3 and played just 9:10 over the final two periods.
If Oduya plays (and per Quenneville, it sounds like he will), it’s probable that Kyle Cumiskey — who, like Timonen, is a left-handed shot — will be the odd man out on defense. Cumiskey took some serious heat for losing Cedric Paquette on the game-deciding goal in Game 3, and finished with just 7:38 TOI.
Should things play out this way, Trevor van Riemsdyk would stay in on defense over David Rundblad for the second straight game.
As for the 40-year-old Timonen, he’s set to make his series debut and will play for the first time since Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Ducks — which was 16 days ago. That contest, a 5-4 Anaheim win in overtime, was one of Timonen’s roughest outings in what’s been a forgettable playoff; the veteran Finn was minus-2 in just 8:06 of ice time, and received just three shifts in the third period and OT.
“Coaches make the decisions, they put the best lineup on the ice and that’s it,” Timonen explained. “I’m just the one piece of the team here.
“I decided I’m going to work hard at the practice and stay positive and make sure if that chance comes I’m ready to go, and it looks like it’s here.