Kimmo Timonen's Strong Play After Olympics Key to Philadelphia Flyers' Success

Brad KurtzbergContributor IMarch 10, 2014

Kimmo Timonen has picked up his play since the Olympic break.
Kimmo Timonen has picked up his play since the Olympic break.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Flyers have gone 3-0-1 in their last four games, and one big reason for their recent success is the play of defenseman Kimmo Timonen.

The 38-year-old Finnish defenseman has come to life after the Olympics. Timonen helped Finland win a bronze medal in Sochi and then returned to the Flyers with renewed enthusiasm and vigor.

The Finns were not expected to win a medal at the Olympics, but they surprised everybody but themselves when they beat the United States to capture the bronze.

That seemed to help Timonen’s confidence. “You guys say we don’t have a chance, but I’ll show you the medal,” Timonen told Dave Isaac of the South Jersey Courier-Post just after he returned to practice after the Olympics. “Maybe you’ll change your mind now.”

Timonen took a few extra days after the Olympics to recover from the experience and adjust to the change in time zones. He sat out the team’s first game after the Olympic break, which the Flyers lost 7-3 to the San Jose Sharks.

Since then, the Flyers have picked up a point in each of their four games while Timonen has scored two goals and accumulated seven points. He is a plus-five in those games.

Timonen’s confidence seems infectious. “If we play as a team and come together as a team, I really believe we have a good chance [to win a Stanley Cup],” Timonen told Isaac. “Before the break, the goalies were playing really well and we played as a team.”

This is the last year of Timonen’s contract, and at his age, there is speculation that he may retire at the end of the season.

The way the veteran Finn is playing, there is little doubt that he can play another year at an effective level if he chooses to continue his career.

He is presently tied for the lead among Flyers defensemen in assists (22), is second in points (26), second in plus/minus (plus-five), first in shots on goal (118) and second on average ice time (20:40).

Those statistics are even more impressive when you consider Timonen had no points in the his first 13 games of the season. That means he has 26 points in his last 48 contests.

Right now, the veteran alternate captain has given the Flyers a boost after the Olympic break. But Timonen will need to continue his fine play if the Flyers hope to make a long run in this year’s playoffs.