On Monday night the Chicago Blackhawks won their third NHL Championship in six seasons by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The victory already has many calling the Blackhawks a “dynasty” and a team that could hoist a couple more Cups before all is said and done.
Of course, no one in Philadelphia really cares about any of that.
No, the only reason many Flyers fans tuned in to see if the Blackhawks could beat the Lightning and win the Cup is because of former Flyer Kimmo Timonen.
Timonen is a 17-year veteran of the NHL and spent eight of those years in a Flyers uniform where he was a favorite of both the fans and his teammates on the ice. At 40-years old, he spent much of the 2014-15 season dealing with blood clots in his lungs and leg and announced he was going to retire once the season was over. Flyers GM Ron Hextall then moved heaven and earth to find a contender to trade Timonen to so that he would have one last chance to win Lord Stanley’s Cup, the only glaring hole in an otherwise amazing career.
So when the Blackhawks won the title, it was impossible not to feel good for the veteran defenseman as finally realized his dream.
Timonen seemed well aware of how special the moment was, saying during the television broadcast:
“It’s unbelievable. Obviously, I’ve been dreaming of this the last 17 years. I am leaving this game. It gave me a lot. I gave everything for this game. I am happy and ready [to retire].
“All the hours, all the battles, all the games I played. It’s a great journey. It’s been a long one. What happened last summer [blood clots], I am happy to be here. It’s been a long process. I’m a Stanley Cup Champion!”
Timonen played sparingly during the Blackhawk’s playoff run, averaging a little less than nine minutes a game but honestly, none of that matters. All you have to do is watch the emotion of Timonen’s face as he finally gets to lift the Stanley Cup to see that all the struggle and uncertainty was well worth it.
Timonen has already said that he he would like to return to Philadelphia and work for the Flyers in some capacity in the future.
But that can wait. Right now Kimmo Timonen can simple enjoy the new title he earned on Monday night:
Stanley Cup Champion.