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The Flyers had recently linked the aging but durable fan favorite on the blue line for another season. Kimmo Timonen had always talked about possibly retired but strived for a Stanley Cup title.
He wanted to be a winner and to win in Philadelphia, so he returned for the 2014-15 season with high expectations. That season, and any hockey future, are now in doubt.
Timonen was hospitalized in his native Finland with blood clots in his right leg and both lungs. He was released from the hospital on Tuesday, but can't travel for two to three weeks. The Flyers reported that Timonen's condition was good, but also that they must wait until he is able to travel before Flyers doctors can evaluate further.
Tomas Vokoun was recently sidelined an entire season with a blood clot in his hip. As Timonen approaches 40, this isn't just about the 2014-15 season. His career could be over due to this news.
Timonen was the Flyers mainstay on defense, the mentor for the young stars expected to emerge from the Flyers minor-league system.
Suddenly, the Flyers long-term plan has taken a turn. They didn't have a backup to losing a defenseman of Timonen's quality. GM Ron Hextall assured the Flyers would not rush young prospects, saying the focus will be on signing a veteran defenseman or trading for one. The seventh defenseman at this time is recent free-agent signing Nick Schultz.
Timonen also suffered from blood clots prior to the 2008 Eastern Conference Final against Pittsburgh, which forced him to miss four of the five games in the series won by the Penguins.
Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.