Kimmo Timonen’s big decision: Stanley Cup dream or retirement?

Kimmo Timonen’s big decision: Stanley Cup dream or retirement?

Kimmo Timonen’s in an interesting career crossroads, ahead of what assumes is the end of the road for his NHL career.

The nearly 39-year-old defenseman seems to have discovered a fountain of youth amidst the stray dogs of Sochi: He has seven points in four games since the Olympic break, including two goals in the Philadelphia Flyers’ overtime loss at Toronto on Saturday. He’s playing well as the Flyers push for the playoffs and potentially achieve Timonen’s dream of winning the Stanley Cup.

It’s that dream that brought him back to the Flyers for one season at $6 million.

“That’s why I’m still here,” he told CSN Philly. “It keeps you motivated every night, thinking about that I still have a chance to get it. Hopefully it’s this year.”

But is it a dream that’ll bring him back to the NHL again next season?

Timonen told Sarah Baicker of CSN that he’s undecided about next season. It all depends on how his body reacts to this season and if he believes he can rev up the engine for another 82 games in 2014-15.

It’s a familiar refrain for those who followed players like Nicklas Lidstrom near the end: Players that still had something left in the tank, had family considerations and didn’t want to leave the NHL as a parody of themselves.

If he returns, it won’t be for $6 million, that’s certain. Will it be with the Flyers?

Philly has four defenseman under contract next season including Mark Streit, who plays a similar game to Timonen. One assumes they’ll re-up Andrew MacDonald, their deadline acquisition from the Islanders. Then there’s the Shea Weber ghost haunting the blue line; could they reinvestigate that angle with a rebuilding Nashville?

But Philly or otherwise, one of the most underrated defensemen of his era has a decision to make if the Flyers fall short of the Cup this season.

Sometimes it gets to the point where you have to say, OK, that’s enough, and move on and do some other stuff in your life and focus on your family, because this job takes a lot of time away from your family,” he told CSN. “But winning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal, and hopefully we can do it this year and move on.”