Kimmo Timonen relishes the opportunity to compete for a Stanley Cup, particularly since he didn’t feel as if he had much of a chance to do so when he was a member of the Nashville Predators.
“It took me 12 years to get to this point," Timonen said in an NHL.com story detailing how deals with the Predators helped the Philadelphia Flyers get to this year’s Cup finals. "If you go back to 1998 (in Nashville), it was tough to see us at this point some day.”
Timonen is one of several former Predators’ players currently with the Flyers, who lost the opening game of the series 6-5 to Chicago on Saturday. Game two is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Chicago.
Forward Scott Hartnell, defenseman Ryan Parent and goalie Michael Leighton all played for Nashville or were property of the Predators at some point.
Hartnell and Timonen were traded to Philadelphia together following the 2006-07 season, shortly before they were scheduled to become free agents. Both negotiated long-term deals with the Flyers and have become integral parts of that roster.
Hartnell had a goal and two assists in Saturday’s contest, which raised his totals for the postseason to four goals and seven assists in 18 games. Timonen has notched eight assists and has logged more ice time than any skater other than Chris Pronger.
Leighton, who made one appearance for the Predators before he was placed on waivers, has started the last eight games.
“Scottie Upshall [also a former Predator] was traded (to Philadelphia) before and he said (the Flyers) have great young guys … and all this kind of stuff, and it looked pretty promising,” Hartnell said in the NHL.com story.
The first season Timonen and Hartnell played for Philadelphia, the Flyers advanced to the conference final. Last season they were eliminated in the opening round. This spring, Philadelphia rallied from a 3-0 deficit and won four straight over Boston in the second round and then shut out Montreal three times in the conference finals.
“A few years (with the Predators), we had good teams but we lost in the first round and then it was time to move here,” Timonen said. “Same happens here. We actually made conference finals in my first year here.
“It's certainly been a long trip.”