Imagine if the Detroit Red Wings learned perpetual Norris Trophy nominee Nicklas Lidstrom was gone for the playoffs. Now you have an idea of the shocking turn of events for the Philadelphia Flyers, who learned late Thursday afternoon that top defenseman Kimmo Timonen likely was lost for the balance of the playoffs with a blood clot in his ankle.
During the Flyers' second-round series against the Canadiens, Timonen blocked a shot in Game 4 and played through significant pain in Game 5, in which Philly ousted Montreal. Further tests revealed the blood clot. Timonen remained in Philadelphia when his teammates traveled to Pittsburgh for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins on Friday.
The slick-skating Finn was acquired by the Flyers after last season and has been the team's best all-around defender.
In these playoffs, Timonen and young defenseman Braydon Coburn have been the team's top shutdown pair and were expected to log significant ice time against the Evgeni Malkin forward line.
It's unknown how coach John Stevens will adjust to this significant blow. Earlier in the season, Coburn teamed with Derian Hatcher as a strong defensive tandem. It's expected Hatcher will face off most often against Sidney Crosby.
-- Scott Burnside