Kimmo Timonen reminisces about winning Stanley Cup with Blackhawks


Kimmo Timonen reminisces about winning Stanley Cup with Blackhawks

PHILADELPHIA – For a moment or two, Kimmo Timonen wanted to play hockey again.

The retired defenseman was at the Flyers and Blackhawks’ morning skates on Wednesday, talking with his former teammates, including those with whom he won a Stanley Cup in June.

“But the reality is I’m 40 years old. I just had a glass of red wine,” Timonen said to laughs a few hours later. “I can’t really turn that down anymore.”

Timonen took one more turn on the Wells Fargo Center ice as part of his retirement night on Wednesday, when the Flyers hosted the Blackhawks. Timonen got the same reception on this night as he did last spring, when he played his first game here in a Blackhawks uniform.

[MORE: Dave Hakstol on Jonathan Toews: Not much has changed since North Dakota]

A few months later Timonen was the first player to receive the Cup from Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

“It was a great moment when Jonny gave Kimmo the Cup there on home ice," coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was a special time for everybody, and people who admired Kimmo throughout his career got to feel that, ‘Wow, what a great finish and compliment to a tremendous career.’ It’s fitting we’re here and he gets honored here tonight. He came in at an interesting time for us and helped us along the way. His contribution was important at important times.”

Toews said the Blackhawks heard nothing but good things about Timonen before he became their teammate. They wanted to win a Cup for the veteran who had built such a great reputation throughout his lengthy career.

“We all meant it when we said it’s special moment for the guys in the room who have won the Cup previously. And to win it again and be able to win it for a guy like Kimmo adds much more meaning to it, for sure,” Toews said. “Although we didn’t spend a lot of time with him, it was meaningful time and we’ve got some great memories now.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Timonen had high praise for Toews’ professionalism.

“He’s my top one or two captains I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The way he prepares for the game, how he does everything right, that’s commitment. I try to do the same way. I couldn’t achieve the level he is. We all can do it but it requires a lot of commitment.”

Timonen accomplished plenty in his career. The Flyers could very well be his employer again in the future. The Philadelphia area is his home. And his time with the Blackhawks will always be special.

“It was so easy to walk in there,” Timonen said of the Blackhawks’ room. “I’ve played a lot of hockey, seen a lot of different players but those guys are a special group. When you win three Cups in six years, it’s something special. Even in my old age I was able to see something new and it was impressive.”

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?