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Flyers defenseman Timonen resumes skating

by Adam Kimelman

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen resumed skating Friday in hopes of playing at some point during the 2014-15 season.

Timonen, 39, has not played since being diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and lungs in August. He has Protein C deficiency, an illness that makes him susceptible to blood clots. Timonen's mother and two of his brothers also have the illness.

He skated by himself for about 40 minutes at the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, N.J. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall looked on as Timonen worked in some stickhandling and shooting.

"It was kind of a weird feeling this morning," Timonen said in video posted on the Flyers website. "I was kind of nervous that I don't fall down right away. It was kind of weird, but I was so excited looking forward to this morning. I couldn't really sleep last night. It's not like you're riding a bike. It's different. I just realized skating is hard. This is kind of like a training camp for me, Day One. It's over, but it's going to get better day by day."

Timonen said Thursday his plan was to skate on his own for 7-10 days, and if that goes well, join the Flyers for practice. He said Friday it would probably take 2-3 weeks before he was game ready.

"I was on the ice 40 minutes and at the end of the 40 minutes I actually felt better than the first 10 minutes," Timonen said. "I feel like I'm in good shape, but skating shape is a little different. That's why we always have a training camp to get into skating shape, and like I said this is for me now."

The Flyers have lacked an experienced, puck-moving defenseman with Timonen's level of consistency this season, one reason they are nine points behind the Boston Bruins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, despite entering the weekend on a 4-0-1 run.

"I think up to this point in the year it's pretty evident how much we've missed Kimmo," Hextall said Thursday. "It's not only on the ice, it's off the ice, it’s intangibles, it's in the locker room, the work ethic, the professionalism and everything he brings. And his presence on the ice. We've missed him a ton and we're looking forward to having him back."

Timonen, who will turn 40 on March 18, was second among Flyers defensemen last season with six goals and 35 points in 77 games. In 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators and Flyers, Timonen has 117 goals and 571 points in 1,092 games.

But it was a chance to skate in at least one more game that motivated Timonen to stay in shape in case the chance came for him to add to those totals. He said no matter what happens going forward, this will be his last season.

"I still want to leave this game on my own terms," he said. "That's the biggest thing. Here I am and I got a chance to do that."


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