Where Is Our Finnish God Now?
Kimmo Timonen had been the "Finnish Warrior," the "Finnish God of Defense," and the "Man Made of Steel" for six seasons in Philadelphia.
This season marks his seventh with the Flyers, and many nicknames of praise are being removed with each passing game.
Timonen remains pointless and the qualities that once defined his game have been absent through 10 games. His power play failures, skating difficulties, and a lack of ability to make the right plays have been uncharacteristic.
There is no way to sugar coat it: Kimmo Timonen looks bad.
He is meant to be a top defenseman on this Flyers team, but his poor play has done more harm than good so far this season. Unfortunately his $6 million contract is looming over to make things look even more frustrating.
Is this the ultimate decline of his play?
We just don’t know. But as the games go by, it becomes harder and harder to believe that Timonen will find a way to turn everything around.
When thinking of the here-and-now for the Flyers, this situation with Timonen is frustrating. He’s holding young defensemen back while providing no true benefit for the Flyers as a whole.
But thoughts automatically change when remembering who it is that is struggling. Feelings of anger turn to heart-break.
No one wants to see such an extremely gifted player go out this way. A player who seemed like he wasn’t human for so long should not look so bad.
Sadly, age catches up to even the most super human beings. 38 is a tough age for a defenseman. And for someone of Timonen’s size and stature, the battle wounds are even greater.
He has had to give off so much more power to make up for his lack of size. He has also taken such a beating going up against the best players in the league. He has played through injury after injury. And he has made limping to the bench a nightly occurrence without it previously affecting his performance. All of these once spectacular feats were bound to catch up.
Any speculation is going to get you in trouble, especially so early in the season. But with just a one-year contract, a lot is up in the air. Things are rough for both the team and for Timonen right now, but with the Flyers starting to turn things around, maybe Timonen will be able to as well.
We still cannot be 100% sure what Timonen’s current performance means now and what it means for the future. But if the obvious explanation is the correct one, at least many of us can say that we saw the inevitable coming.
When all is said and done, Kimmo Timonen will be remembered for what he accomplished during his whole NHL career. He will not be remembered for his struggles towards the end of his time in this sport. It is almost impossible to be angry when thinking of it that way.
Timonen has given so much and his “Finnish God” qualities refuse to give up. This is a man who wants to hoist the Stanley Cup and win Olympic gold. He wants to play close to 30 minutes a game and be a guy his coach can count on to shut teams down. It is hard to fault a guy who has known nothing other than being on the ice in the most important situations. It is where he wants to remain.
Make no mistake, Timonen’s decline is certainly hurting the Flyers right now. But with what we know about the Timonen of the past, it has got to being hurting him personally even more.