When the Flyers lost Game 7 to the Rangers and in the days after, Kimmo Timonen thought that his prediction of retirement would play out.
The Flyers' 39-year-old defenseman had been considering such all this past season.
“I went through the Olympics and the Game 7 loss and the first couple of weeks it was like, ‘I’m not sure if I can still do it,’” Timonen said shortly before boarding a flight to Finland on Friday afternoon.
“But then time goes by and you watch these games and you watch the playoffs and you start working out and you get the feeling that, ‘I don’t think it’s time to retire.’”
Timonen signed a one-year contract Friday reportedly worth $2 million with bonuses that could double the value, but the salary cap hit would roll over to 2015-16 (see story).
He could have been an unrestricted free agent garnering more on the open market, though not in the $6 million range which he earned last season.
Timonen said it wasn’t about the money. He wanted to return to the Flyers.
“It wasn’t really the money,” he said. “We had so many talks with [general manager] Ron [Hextall]. I know exactly where the team is with the salary cap and moneywise. It wasn’t really the money.
“The biggest thing is my family really likes it there. They were on board saying, ‘You gotta play one more year and go for it.’ And the second thing is I like the team. I like our team. We get better every year and the biggest thing is, I still want to win and the Stanley Cup is still there, which I haven’t won.”
Timonen averaged 20 minutes per game last season. Three years ago, it was 23 minutes a night. Hextall said how he looks, how he feels, and how he plays this season will determine his ice time.
“I had a lot of talks with Ron about different things,” Timonen said. “We went through different scenarios, things that would work the way I would like. I told Ron to do that, it’s really up to me and I want to be in really good shape when I come to camp.
“Inside of me, I still feel like I can play and I can still put up some points and I can still shut down the first line and that kind of stuff. But that might be just me but i want to think that way. That’s the mindset that I’m going to take into the summer.”
When he reports to training camp in September, Timonen said he is coming in not thinking he’s 39, but that he is still a sprite, young guy from Finland.
“I still want to be one of the guys and I still want to play a lot of minutes,” he said. “But then it’s probably the way I play, and then after that it’s up to the coaches."