When an NHL player takes a moment to envision the end of their career, they likely come to one conclusion: it sure would be great to go out on top.
Fortunately for Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen, that’s exactly what he’s going to do, as the veteran plans on retiring after winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career on Monday night.
“I leave this game as a Stanley Cup champion,” he said. ‘And I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Throughout his career, Timonen has been a lot more familiar with the bitter taste of disappointment than the sweet flavor of victory. He fell short at the IIHF World Championships, finishing in third place for three consecutive years with Team Finland. In the Olympic Games, Timonen hit even rougher patches, winning a silver medal in Torino in 2006 and bronze medals in Vancouver and Sochi.
Even though all of those disappointments were surely painful, the one that arguably hurt the most came in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. In that fateful game, Timonen was on the ice as Patrick Kane deked around him and fired a shot below Michael Leighton’s leg pad and into the net to give the Blackhawks their first championship in nearly 50 years.
Fortunately for Timonen, that disappointment can all be left in the past, as he was able to hoist the Stanley Cup as a champion after his final career game.
“It’s a great moment. I was very proud of him,” head coach Joel Quenneville said of Timonen’s win. “I told him not too many guys get to play their last game hoisting the Cup. (It’s) special for a great career.”