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Healthy Timonen relieved to play in Olympics

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen isn't the sort of person who shows his emotions publicly.

But in speaking with the 38-year-old, it's obvious how important is for him to play for his native Finland in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. And after missing two games with a foot injury, Timonen said two days of skating has him feeling healthy enough to get back in the lineup for the Flyers for their game Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.

"The last five, six days have been tough," said Timonen, who was injured blocking a shot during a game Jan. 31 against the Anaheim Ducks. "I want to play. The Olympics is coming. I want to get a couple games in, at least one. It [the foot] is going the right way and I feel pretty good. It's a good feeling."

Timonen knows this will be his last chance to play in the Olympics, so answering the question of how his foot felt gave him a bit of relief.

"We all know it's the big ice surface and you need your skating legs over there," Timonen said. "I wanted to feel, probably most in my head, to make sure I feel pretty good. It's going the right way."

Finnish hockey officials also must be feeling good knowing Timonen will be available and nearly at full strength. With an inexperienced defense, Timonen will be expected to play major minutes in all situations.

"It's a big ice surface," he said. "You have to skate a lot. If you're not 100 percent, especially at this age when you're almost 39 … it's not like you can over there and play half-effort. Same as here, but especially there when you have to skate more. That's why I wanted to get a game or two to make sure I could do it."

This will be Timonen's fifth Olympics and though the hockey schedule in Sochi won't allow much time to take in too much of the sights, he said he plans on taking as much time as he can to appreciate his final chance at Olympic gold.

"Every time you put the [national team] jersey on it's a great honor," he said. "This time it's going to be special because it's my last time. I'm sure it'll feel a little different than it used to. Still, it's going to be a tight schedule and you can only focus on the games and … it's kind of sad. You won't be able to see different events because it's such a tight schedule. Once we get over there we can soak it in."


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