Hes be 38 in a few months. Usually by this point in the season, the Finnish defenseman is starting to feel it.
By March, when his birthday rolls around, he'd already banged up and by April, the 20-21 minutes a game ice time have taken their toll.
This time there have been no games, no checks. All Timonen has had to do was skate on his own to stay in shape. He looks a little heavier than his 194 pounds, but his body is that much sounder for lack of the long seasons usual grind.
Its been a long four months of no hockey, he said.You kind of have to try to be in shape just in case this happens. I was getting worried. I don't think hockey can afford to lose another season and have a second lockout in nine years. The settlement is good for hockey, good for the players, good for teams, good for fans. Everybody is happy.
Timonen would have gone to Finland had the season been cancelled. Instead, he awaits Sundays training camp opening with renewed, albeit cautious, enthusiasm.
There will be 48 games crammed into either 102 or 104 days, depending upon what NHL schedule is released
Its going to be a quick turnaround here, he said.Every day from now on is going to matter. Training camp is 4-5 days. Every game matters. Theres no easing into it. Its a battle for the points right away. Its going to be tough. I havent played since last May and it may take a few games to get sharp, but everybodys in the same boat.
Given the state of the Flyers' blue line going into camp Andrej Meszaros could miss the start because of Achilles tendon rehab; Erik Gustafsson has a nagging deep bone bruise in his foot; and Marc-Andre Bourdon has post-concussion syndrome the club has to be careful with Timonen.
He is still their No. 1 guy and his health postseason is paramount. Yet given everything else right now, his minutes could get pushed up. The Flyers' defense is nowhere as fluid as it was a year ago.
And while theres hope Timonen might escape a shortened season unscathed, when you look at his track record, it doesnt seem possible. Heres the log on Timonen since 2008: chip fracture in right ankle; 25 stitches to the face; concussion; broken right toe; left hip flexor; left wrist injury; and herniated disk and subsequent offseason surgery.
That list stands out like a giant yellow caution flag.
Yet coach Peter Laviolette, always one to push the envelope, says even if his team were to clinch a playoff spot, he likely wouldnt rest his older veterans, if it meant the Flyers could jump higher in the seedings.
Does that apply to Timonen?
If you're looking for a quick answer, the answer off the top of my head would be no rest, Laviolette said. There'd be no ducking anything at that point. Guys are here to play. They want to play. They'd probably be mad if you took them out of the lineup.
Last season, Timonen actually asked for more ice time because felt good, only to pop a disk late in the season.
The lockout, however, enabled more time for his back to recover from surgery.
Off the back surgery, I am sure it would help, he said. Now its going to be 48 games in 95 days so. It might be even tougher. Well see once get into it. I feel pretty good now.
Part of the lockout was spent watching his son play for the Comcast 99s. He almost never gets that kind of opportunity during a normal season.
I had a great time, Timonen said.
The last month or so, he was very down. The weekend he played at the charity game in Atlantic City to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief, Timonen, who almost always takes the high road, flat out said, The season is over.
It was really tough, Timonen said. Sometimes, we had just me and Jody Shelley here skating. Just the two of us and no goalie. It was really hard, especially in December when my hopes were up wed settle this thing.
Then it didnt happen. Christmas comes and nothing really happening, it was tough. Ill be honest. The motivation level was under zero. Im glad its over.
Flyer fans are just glad hes healthy.