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Newest Flyers Hopeful for the Future

by Kevin Kurz / Philadelphia Flyers
Timonen, Hartnell excited to join club

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(Philadelphia, PA, June 19) – Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell, teammates on the Nashville Predators before Tuesday, kept their cell phones handy last weekend after finding out they may both be involved in a trade with Philadelphia.

“We called [each other] a couple times each day finding out what was going on. Where we are at in the process? What did [Flyers General Manager Paul] Holmgren say? Are we going to be good?” said Hartnell on a conference call Wednesday morning. “It was kind of a weird process.”

That process ended with both of them agreeing to the trade, and hopefully soon, a couple of finalized contracts.

“I decided Sunday night that I [was] going to go, and Kimmo decided Monday morning, ‘let’s do it.’  I am taking a leap of faith and have put trust in the team,” said Hartnell.  “Looking on paper at the guys in Philadelphia right now, we have a lot of heart, a lot of speed, a lot of guys who can play tough and [Martin] Biron in net. It’s looking like a great club.  It was easy for me to decide.”
Kimmo Timonen competes in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game in Dallas.

There were a number of factors involved in the two players’ ultimately wanting to come to Philadelphia. Both Hartnell and Timonen know another recent acquisition by the Flyers in Scottie Upshall. Upshall was acquired by Philadelphia along with prospect Ryan Parent in the deal that sent Peter Forsberg to the Predators on February 15.

“The funny thing is, we had been roommates with Scottie for the last four years and now we are back on the same team,” said Timonen. “It’s awesome, playing with Upshall and knowing all the Finnish guys there. It’s going to be awesome and I am looking forward to it.”

Timonen is also very good friends with fellow Finn Sami Kapanen, who helped sell the idea of coming to the Flyers, and his brother Jussi is a prospect in the system that played 14 games with the big club last season and another 46 on the blueline with the Philadelphia Phantoms in the AHL. The two actually faced one another when the Flyers hosted Nashville last season in late November.

“[Tuesday] night I called my Dad and told him I am going to be my brother’s teammate, and he was so happy he couldn’t talk,” said Timonen. “It’s really going to be a cool experience for me and I am sure it will be for my brother, too.”

Kimmo Timonen may be looked upon to help along the progress of another Finnish defenseman on the club in Joni Pitkanen. Despite leading the team in scoring among defensemen with 43 points last season, Pitkanen struggled at times in his own end and finished with a -25 rating.

Leadership qualities are something that Timonen obviously possesses, as he served as the team captain for Nashville last season and the alternate captain for the previous four years.

“I don’t know Joni that well but I know he is a really good player and he has a lot of skill and a lot of good skating ability,” said Timonen. “I have to get to know him better, and I am sure I can help and talk to him.”

Both Timonen and Hartnell have a positive outlook on the future and helping the Flyers back to NHL-elite status.

“I talked to Mr. Holmgren a lot of times throughout the weekend and he promised me he is going to get a couple more guys this year and being able to do that we are going to have a really good team,” said Timonen.  “To me, if you think about what we had in Nashville last year, we had speed and we played a really good team system.  I think what we have right now, we have a lot of young guys, a lot of speed but we have to remember you have to play with a good system and as a unit.  If we are able to do that we will be fine.”

“[Holmgren] wants a winner,” added Hartnell. “I think the team, the city; they want and deserve a winner.  I think coming here is a step in the right direction and we are just super excited to be in Philly.”
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