Flyers

Olympic Q&A: Timonen: 'It's going to feel special'

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Olympic Q&A: Timonen: 'It's going to feel special'

This is the second day of the men’s Olympic hockey competition in Sochi, Russia.

It’s a far busier day, with four games involving three Flyers -– Kimmo Timonen (Finland), Michael Raffl (Austria) and Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia).

Austria will be hard pressed to defeat Team Finland as Raffl and Timonen face each other head-to-head. Slovakia and Russia might be more evenly matched than expected.

Here’s what the Timonen had to say before heading to Russia.

Q: Kimmo, your situation is very different. Been there, done that. But you’ve been injured. Do you temper that with the excitement of going over?

Timonen: It’s been in the back of my mind. I got to get healthy first ... I wanted to get back in the lineup and get my skating legs back up to where they should be because it’s a bigger ice surface over there. I want to feel I am right in my head, too.

Q: It's the fifth Olympics for you. What feels different?

Timonen: The first is always the first and it was a while ago. We had seven defensemen go and now I am in the top pair. It’s different. It’s always a great honor to put that jersey on and now I know it’s my last time. Special meaning for me, for sure.

Q: What are your expectations?

Timonen: I want to play well. Win the gold. That’s the only way we should be going in there. I have a bronze and silver, but I am still missing the gold. We lost 2-1 in Turin to Sweden [for the gold]. It stayed with me for a while. Nothing you can do about it. I have a chance now and there’s really good countries and players. Everyone has a chance.

Q: Kimmo, how can the Olympics help you the rest of the season, career? Jakub Voracek thought it could really make a difference being his first time, but you’re an older veteran.

Timonen: I don’t know if it is going to help me. For someone like Jake, you make the team, it’s your first time over there and you play with confidence. It’s all about your confidence level. Jake going there his first time, he is really looking forward to it. He can build his confidence up from there coming back.

Q: Kimmo, five Olympics is rare. Your teammate, Teemu Selanne, this will be his sixth. How special will this be for you?

Timonen: My last year, it will be. You don’t want to go there if you are hurt. You won’t do well if you’re hurt. It’s a big ice surface, you have to skate a lot and it you are not 100 percent, at my age of almost 39, you can’t go over there playing half effort. That’s why I wanted a game or two [before] to make sure I am good to go.

Q: Will you get time to take a minute and take it all in, one last time?

Timonen: Every time you put the jersey on it’s a great honor, but this time it’s special. This time, it’s my last time and it’s going to feel special. It will be a tight schedule. You can only focus on games. It’s kind of sad, you don’t get to see all the events because of the tight schedule. You try to soak it in.

Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

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Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz had his third career hat trick to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Schwartz has four goals and six assists this season and has at least one point in six of the Blues' first seven games. It was his 51st career multi-point game and fourth this season.

Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, Kyle Brodziak also scored, and Jake Allen made 22 saves. The Blues snapped a two-game losing streak

Duncan Keith and Ryan Hartman had late goals for Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 28 saves (see full recap).

Maple Leafs ride big 1st period to win
TORONTO -- Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves in his season debut and the Toronto Maple Leafs scored four times in the first period in a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

Starting in place of Frederik Andersen, McElhinney stopped 14 shots in the third period to hold off the Red Wings.

Nazem Kadri, Zach Hyman, Auston Matthews, Connor Brown, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander scored to help Toronto improve to an NHL-best 6-1-0. The Maple Leafs were coming off a 2-0 victory at Washington on Tuesday night.

Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Jonathan Ericsson scored for the Red Wings, and Nick Jensen had three assists.

Jimmy Howard gave up three goals on four shots before getting yanked in favor of Petr Mrazek late in the first period (see full recap).

How Michal Neuvirth found fresh inspiration in being a dad

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How Michal Neuvirth found fresh inspiration in being a dad

For the first time in his nine-year career, Michal Neuvirth knows when he gets home at night after a game, there will be someone waiting for him with a smile.

Win or lose, it doesn’t matter to Neuvirth, or especially to his one-month-old daughter, Emily Gudasová Carolina.

“When you come home, there’s a baby waiting and it's such an amazing feeling that someone is waiting for you at home,” Neuvirth said after Tuesday's 5-1 win over Florida. “Last year, I was mostly here by myself, so I definitely like it better having a family with me now.”

Family now consists of his newborn daughter, his fiancee Karolína Gudasová and uncle Radko Gudas, Gudasová’s older brother and Neuvirth’s Flyers teammate.

To those of us on the outside, the responsibility of fatherhood seemingly has altered Neuvirth’s disposition. He smiles more, cracks a few jokes and elaborates just a little more with his answers to the media. Perhaps, he can tolerate us because there’s a deeper purpose and a sense of providing that comes with fatherhood.  

“It’s an amazing feeling being a dad,” Neuvirth said. “For me, I just have another motivation to play for my family now.”

Of course, it also helps I’ve yet to see Neuvirth yawn or show up to practice with bags under his eyes. He has escaped any late-night drama with an eight-day road trip to start the season, and for now, he apparently has a rare lifetime pass for any early morning feedings.  

“I have an amazing fiancee. She takes care of her (Emily) as much as she needs to,” Neuvirth said. “I usually put her to bed at 10-10:30. During the night, Karolina goes and feeds her in the living room, and I’m a deep sleeper, so she doesn’t wake me up.”

As Gudasová has kept an eye on the cradle, Neuvirth has secured the crease. He’s allowed three goals in his two starts this season with a .956 save percentage, which has initiated the debate for more playing time.

Interestingly, adapting to a new addition is something Neuvirth has also discussed with teammate and fellow netminder, Brian Elliott, who went through a similar set of circumstances with his son, Owen, last season in Calgary. Elliott called that first month with the Flames “a huge adjustment” and his October numbers reflected that.

Six games into the season, Neuvirth apparently has it all figured out. 

Of course, a good night’s sleep has a way of bringing clarity to the situation.