The Philadelphia Flyers are slowly becoming a better team. Now, they will need some luck.
After signing defenseman Kimmo Timonen, a 15-year veteran, to a one-year contract valued at $2 million, doctors in Timonen’s home country of Finland have diagnosed Timonen with blood clots, according to NHL.com. Flyers new general manager Ron Hextall announced in a press conference that Timonen had been complaining of pain in his right calf for a few days. Doctors examined Timonen and found blood clots in his right leg and both lungs. Timonen has been diagnosed with blood clots before, after blocking a shot against the Montreal Canadiens during the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Though Timonen will be released on Wednesday, the blood clots will restrict his travel for 2-3 weeks. After those weeks, Timonen will fly to Philadelphia for further examination and diagnosis by Flyers personnel.
“He was working out hard and he was getting ready for the season, and then this happened,” Hextall said. “I think he was as shocked as anybody. I haven’t talked to him yet. I’ve reached out to him twice. He’s in a hospital and he did send me a text, though. He seemed very frustrated, but I think we’re all very happy for Kimmo, [his wife] Johanna and his three children that he’s doing fine.”
Hextall, preparing for the worst, has signed free-agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year contract.
“I hate to even speculate,” Hextall said. “The best I can say is that it could be a long term thing. Can he play at some point next season? I don’t have the answer to that. I know he’s in stable condition and doing well,” according to Philly.com.
This puts Hextall and the Flyers in a precarious position. He wants the Flyers to get better, but situations like this can test even the strongest men of character and teams. “There’s no other way to explain it, we will adjust and do whatever we can to make the team better,” Hextall said. “But we’re looking at the person, not the hockey player. From everything we’ve heard, Kimmo is resting and doing well.”
The Flyers have still been able to make positive moves. They’ve re-signed back-up goalie Ray Emery on July 1 and later added veteran defenseman Nick Schultz, who was traded from Edmonton to Columbus last year at the trade deadline and re-upped forward Brayden Schenn. Before July 1, they also traded Scott Hartnell to the Blue Jackets for R.J. Umberger.
Now, it’s just a question of if and when regarding Timonen. The Flyers will play the waiting game.
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