Timonen re-signs with Flyers; injury updates

Timonen re-signs with Flyers; injury updates

February 7, 2013, 6:45 pm
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The Flyers officially welcomed back Kimmo Timonen for next season with a one-year, $6 million contract extension on Thursday night.
 
Timonen, who turns 38 in March, will remain the highest-paid Flyers defenseman.
 
Given the organization’s injury situation, depleted depth, and lack of puck movers with offensive pop, his signing is no small thing.
 
“He’s been one of those dependable players,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He brings a lot of experience to our team. With a young team you lean on guys like that.
 
“He plays through a lot of pain. He is reliable and dependable night in and night out. He is a good example for our guys.”
 
The deal came together on Monday even though talks began over the summer. General manager Paul Holmgren said Timonen had requested some time and some games to see how he came off back surgery before committing.
 
“He wanted to make sure how he felt,” Holmgren said. “This was an on-going thing.”
 
Bothered by back pain many times over the past five seasons, Timonen has shown the ability to repeatedly plow through injury right into the playoffs while averaging 41 points as a Flyer. He led the club’s blue line with 43 points last season.
 
“He’s played good for us and we’ve gone through a systems change with how we play in our own end,” Holmgren said. “All are adjusting to that a little bit. Kimmo plays in all situations for us. He plays a lot of minutes [almost 23 a game]. He’s a key guy for us.”
 
Given the Flyers waited too long last summer and lost Matt Carle to free agency, it was apparent they weren’t going to take a chance in allowing Timonen to explore the open market this July.
 
Yes, $6 million is a lot to pay a 38-year-old next season, but the fact remains, even when Andrej Meszaros returns from his current shoulder injury, Timonen is still the Flyers’ No. 1 defenseman.
 
It’s no coincidence Laviolette has him paired with the young Luke Schenn. While Schenn is a big, physical guy, who hits and blocks shots, he is neither overly mobile nor adroit with the puck. Timonen protects him to some extent while also acting as a mentor.
 
“They’ve been a nice pair,” Laviolette said. “When you play with Kimmo, he really settles the game down. He makes a good pass. He thinks the game through. When you play with a guy like that it really benefits.
 
“That is not to take anything away from Luke, because I think he has done a nice job since he got here. When you get to play with a guy like Kimmo or Chris Pronger, guys that make the right plays on the ice, it’s almost like you are a step ahead of the game.
 
“Their decision-making or thought process is that they give you plays or help you with plays or positioning just by their reactions on the ice. Even with talking on the bench with someone in practice you can learn a lot. It’s been a good pair for us so far.”
 
Timonen underwent offseason surgery to remove herniated disk fragments from his back. During the lockout, he chose to rehab in the U.S. rather than play overseas. He rested his legs and appears in top form.
 
“Kimmo looks good out there right now,” Laviolette said. “He’s not one of the guys who went over there and played.
 
“You go through training camp and he’s looked like he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s been a strong player for us.”
 
Holmgren echoed that he likes how Timonen interacts with the younger players on this club.
 
“I couldn’t ask for a better guy,” he said.
 
His current 6-year, $37.8 million contract had a $6.33 million cap hit. That deal was signed on June 18, 2007, after a trade from Nashville that also brought Scott Hartnell to the Flyers.
 
“He’s a good solider and has been a good Flyer,” Holmgren said.
 
Simmonds update
Wayne Simmonds, recovering from a concussion, did not play against Florida on Thursday night. Holmgren said Simmonds didn’t “feel quite right.”
 
He also said it was undetermined whether Simmonds would get into a contact practice before returning to the lineup. The Flyers play Carolina on Saturday.
 
“He did good today, his tests are OK, it’s a question as to when he feels he is ready go,” Holmgren said, adding that Saturday was a possibility.
 
Hartnell, Meszaros update
Hartnell had the cast removed from his left foot today, Holmgren said. He might start skating next week. Hartnell has a broken bone in that foot.
 
Holmgren said Meszaros might also begin skating this weekend but both appear on track for a four-week recovery.