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Hextall on loss of Timonen: ‘There’s no question it’s a setback’

Aug 6, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

Kimmo Timonen #44 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks for the opening in the third period against the New York Rangers on January 29, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1.
(January 28, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

“There’s no question it’s a setback, there’s no other way to explain it. … You can’t take not only the player but I think the experience and the calm and the poise and the respect that Kimmo has in the locker room and say you didn’t take a step back.”

That was Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall, via NHL.com, speaking about the loss of veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who’s been diagnosed with blood clots and may be forced to retire.

Timonen was already pondering retirement following the 2013-14 season; however, he ultimately signed a one-year extension with the Flyers in June, with Hextall calling the offensive defenseman “still a very effective player.”

If Hextall had known then what everyone knows now, he may have been more aggressive in free agency or in the trade department to add a dependable defenseman.

Yesterday, the Flyers signed 24-year-old Michael Del Zotto, a once-promising d-man who’s coming off a tough 2013-14. At this point, he’s a wild card. He could bounce back. He could end up on waivers.

“If I had an answer for it [my downfall], I’d be able to figure it out just as easy,” said Del Zotto, per CSN Philly. “I had a great rookie season, second season didn’t go as well, and my third was my best season. I was playing to my capabilities …

“Last year I lost my confidence early on, and it’s a confidence game. If you don’t believe in yourself or your abilities to make the plays you need to as an offensive player, it’s tough to go from there.”

Timonen, on the other hand, was a known, dependable commodity. He was also a player who had excellent possession numbers relative to his teammates in 2013-14, while playing against tough competition for a Flyers team that finished the season with the 20th-ranked goals-against average (2.77).

  1. petersteelewannabe - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Hextall certainly doesn’t mince words, which is refreshing. Holmgren probably would’ve talked about how this is actually good for the team in some way (NOT!). Good luck in your recovery Kimmo, you’ll never have to pay for a beer when you’re in Philly for the rest of your life, that much I promise.

  2. phillyphanatic77 - Aug 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    It’s weird to think that in one offseason the Flyers have lost both Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen… two players who will be thought of as Flyers long after their careers are history.

  3. monsor - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    “You can’t take not only the player but I think the experience and the calm and the poise and the respect that Kimmo has in the locker room and say you didn’t take a step back.”

    Welcome to Philly Michael Del Zotto

  4. bleedrangerblue - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Didn’t lose anything in Hartnell ( I’m shaking my head to fluff my hair). He sucked.

  5. sportsfaninyyc - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    Flyers probably have the worst D in the league this season.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      It’s not great but there are definitely worse. I, for one, thought Timonen should’ve retired this summer anyway. Right off the bat Edmonton’s blueline is worse. Calgary, the Islanders, the Capitals (bigger names, not much better), the Senators, the Stars are pretty much on par, the Avs backend isn’t special… there are a lot of teams who are deficient on the blueline.

  6. kastout11 - Aug 7, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Good defensemen are really tough to come by in today’s NHL. There are only a few teams that have a good defenseman past their top pairing. The Flyers “D” is bad, but their not as bad as the Philly fans and media make them out to be.

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