Nichols’ Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Timonen Savoring ‘Every Second’ Of Comeback

Nichols’ Notes: Timonen Savoring ‘Every Second’ Of Comeback
Chris Nichols

Kimmo Timonen traveled the long road back to the NHL following serious blood clot issues, and that effort to get back and earn another chance to win his first Stanley Cup has been worth it.

“It’s been a weird couple of weeks but at the same time I’m really excited,” Timonen said. “At the end of the day, if you look back two, three, four months, I wasn’t supposed to play hockey ever again. So whenever I play I enjoy every second, every moment I’m on the ice and go from there. I really don’t have any other goals other than getting into the playoffs and hopefully help the team. That’s why I’m here.”

Source: Myers/ CSN

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Playing in the OHL didn’t just develop Bobby Ryan’s hockey skills; it also fostered an understanding of the importance of giving back to the community, which evolved into a lasting relationship with the Special Olympics.

“When you’re playing junior hockey, a certain number of public appearances are expected of you,” said Ryan.

“You’re 16 and you kind of take it for granted. I started to volunteer a little more. It was always ball hockey or floor hockey in a gym like this.

“You don’t know the impact it has until you see it and you’re part of it. Now, I’m in the NHL, but even then, when I was playing junior hockey, they were happy playing with a guy who played for the Owen Sound Attack. For me to give an hour of my day, to witness the impact of that is one of those feelings you can’t describe.”

Source: Baines/ Sun

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Charlie Coyle’s game has come around since he has a chance to step back and clear his head at the All-Star break, which also allowed his dad a chance to impart some advice.

‘You have to play physical. Get into the play, be relentless.’

Coyle took it to heart and described how the road back to quality play unfolded.

“You have to create your own confidence,” Coyle said. “It starts with a good day of practice, then following that up with a good shift, and a good shift after that. I think, when you’re confidence goes down, and you’re not scoring or not contributing, you kind of get away from some of the details. For me, playing physical helps me get back into the swing of things.”

Source: Youngblood/ Star Tribune

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Dylan Strome has had a fantastic year for the Erie Otters, although it’s that other guy on the team who draws so much press.

Strome has no problem with that – it’s the people continually asking him about it.

“You get sick of hearing the same things over and over again with the people saying that you’re in his shadow or things like that,” Strome said. “I don’t mind it. We’re best friends off the ice.

“I’m proud of him for anything he’s doing and he’s proud of me. We’re both having pretty good seasons here and we just need to finish off strong, but I don’t really feel that hurt me in any way. If anything, it’s just gotten me a little bit more coverage.”

Source: Parker/ Star

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Connor McDavid, meanwhile, isn’t spending too much time thinking about for which NHL team he might end up playing, or running the ever-popular lottery simulators.

“If you’re doing that, then you’re going to get kind of caught up in everything,” McDavid said. “You have no control over it, and so why worry about it. There’s nothing you can do.”

Source: Whyno/ Canadian Press

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Brian McGrattan has been skating a regular shift since being demoted to the AHL, which has been invigorating.

“You get that love for playing again,” said McGrattan. “It’s tough sitting out every night and getting bag-skated every day. You question, ‘what am I doing?’ Down there, it was a little tough at first — it’s not the situation I’m wanting. But on the playing side, it’s been good because I’ve been playing a lot. I’ve been up and down and around my entire career so that’s nothing new. But it has been kind of stressful having a pregnant wife and being so far away.”

Read the rest of that article and you’ll come away quite impressed with how the Calgary Flames have stayed true to their word of being family-first.

Source: Francis/ Sun

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When it came to Mike Ribeiro, Nashville Predators teammate Matt Cullen had heard rumblings about off-ice issues.

“You come into the season and you read the news clippings and stuff, so you don’t really know what to expect,” Cullen said. “But to be real honest, I’ve been so impressed with Ribs. He’s had a real good attitude all year and he’s been positive in the room. His play on the ice has been awesome for us. He’s been a huge addition. He’s been so good for us.

“I’ve been really impressed with the way he’s handled himself. He’s had a few bumps in the road and everybody has their share of ups and downs in their life, and I’ve been impressed with the effort that he’s made to really change things. It’s been impressive. We have kids that are close to the same age, so I see him at the rink a lot with his boys and great family, great kids. So, yeah, I’ve been impressed. Obviously, I’m really happy for him. He seems like he’s happy and it seems like he’s doing really well.”

Source: Burnside/ ESPN

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Bryan Murray’s campaign to promote early detection of colon cancer has already made a tangible impact.

“He is such a recognized face in hockey that his message touched a lot of people,” nephew Tim Murray said. “We had waves of mail and text messages expressing the fact that people were able to detect their colon cancer at an early stage after getting tested as a result of Bryan going out publicly.

“Saving one life is huge. How many will he be able to save? Hundreds, thousands? Nobody knows.”

Source: Whyno/ Canadian Press

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Mike Smith’s game is showing signs of life for the Arizona Coyotes and although there’s nothing left to play for in the standings this year, he has an eye on what should be a hungry off-season.

“Leading into the summer, I want to feel like my game is where it needs to be coming into next season and I can have a good summer of training,” he said. “I’ll be on the ice a lot more this year, more than other years, and I’ll be prepared next season to have a lot better start than I have the last couple of years.”

Source: McLellan/ azcentral

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Even veteran players like Keith Yandle feel the nerves when they’re playing for a new team in front of the home crowd for the first time.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve had butterflies like that,” Yandle recalled of his first Madison Square Garden appearance. “I was nervous. But, when I skated onto the ice, the crowd welcomed me and that really helped put me at ease. It was a special feeling to get that kind of response. You try to soak it all up, to know you are playing in one of the most historic buildings in the world, those kind of things.”

Source: Lomon/ NHLPA

Nichols’ Notes
Chris Nichols

Chris has written about both hockey and fantasy hockey for a number of media outlets over the last 14 years, including a combined decade with Sportsnet.ca and ESPN.com. He launched NicholsOnHockey.com in February of 2014. An aversion to wearing socks sparked a move from his hometown of Edmonton to San Diego, California in the mid-’90s, and the Oilers have not won a Cup in his absence.

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