Belly shots of a blood-thinner twice a day and a role as cheerleader for his teammates don't suit Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen.
"Thursday morning, I was still ready to go on the road with the boys, and I got the news that I can't play probably in this series -- probably not the rest of the season," Timonen said last night before the rest of his team played the Penguins at Mellon Arena in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, a game he had to sit out after being diagnosed with an arterial blood clot in his right ankle.
"So it was awful. I can't even describe the feeling."
Timonen's clot is courtesy of blocking a shot in the second round against Montreal. He will be out until the medication dissolves the clot.
"The dangerous thing about this is if I kept playing and the clot breaks loose, it could go to my toes and they'd have to cut my toes off," he said.
The Flyers' top two-way defenseman and power-play quarterback had eight goals, 36 assists in the regular season and six assists in 12 games in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
He didn't travel with the team Thursday, but when he got clearance to fly, he hitched a ride yesterday with Flyers owner Ed Snider.
He talked to his teammates before the game.
"Everybody was saying how sorry they are, and it is a bad break," Timonen said. "But I said, you know, 'Don't feel sorry for me. You guys have a game tonight and I want to you win.' "
The Eastern Conference final is a familiar -- maybe uncomfortably familiar -- spot for Flyers center Daniel Briere.
Before he signed with Philadelphia as a free agent last summer, Briere helped lead the Buffalo Sabres to the third round of the playoffs two seasons in a row, only to lose to Ottawa last year and to eventual Stanley Cup champion Carolina in 2006.
"It's obviously tough to get to this point," Briere said. "But, yeah, it's been two years in a row going home empty-handed after this series.
"So I'm hoping with the experience we have in this dressing room, we'll be a little more better prepared and ready to attack it and move on this time."
Although he appreciates his role as starting goaltender, Martin Biron, 30, can't help but have fond memories of his several seasons as an NHL backup goaltender, including time spent behind Ryan Miller in Buffalo before he was traded to the Flyers in February 2007.
"There's little things here and there that are fun being in that role, and I enjoyed it in Buffalo," Biron said. "I learned a lot from it.
"I've enjoyed every role I've played, and I've played a third-string goalie for Team Canada, the World Championships, one year. I had a great time doing it."
Still, Biron likes being No. 1.
"There's nothing like playing," he said. "There's nothing like being on the ice, getting ready for games."
The Flyers' Mike Richards has been a Team Canada teammate of the Penguins' Sidney Crosby at two World Junior Championships and one World Championship, but he didn't expect to do a lot of catching up in this series. "We're not going to be chit-chatting about life, that's for sure," Richards said. ... The Flyers scratched defenseman Ryan Parent, center Denis Tolpeko and wingers Steve Downey and Ryan Cote.
Shelly Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1721.