THE MOMENT Kimmo Timonen learned his hockey season had been reduced to a couple months, a few drugs and prayer in a hospital bed in Finland, he reorganized his priorities.
"It wasn't about money, it wasn't about anything else," Timonen said. "The only thing I am missing is the Stanley Cup. It became my only goal to return to hockey. If I had won a Stanley Cup before, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation."
That's because Timonen, who turns 40 on March 18, would likely have decided the risk associated with a return with a blood disorder that causes blood clots too great. It was tough enough to continue working out for six months living on just a small chance.
The Flyers granted Timonen's wish.
On the eve of his planned return to the ice with the Flyers, Timonen was dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks for a second-round pick this June and a conditional pick in 2016 that could ultimately become another second-round selection.
The 2016 pick moves from the fourth to second round if the Blackhawks advance to the Stanley Cup final this year and Timonen plays in 50 percent of the Western Conference final. It can become a third round pick if they just advance to the West Semi-Final and he meets the same criteria.
Fans were planning to serenade him with a "Kim-mo, Kim-mo" chant at the 4:40 mark of the first period Saturday at Wells Fargo Center against the Rangers. He will already be in the Windy City. He could make his Blackhawks debut on Monday night against Carolina.
It is an unbelievable return for the Flyers, considering the Blackhawks traded valuable assets for a 39-year-old defenseman who hasn't played since April 30, 2014 and did it sight unseen. They had no game this season to judge his conditioning and health.
"I understand he hasn't played, but on the flip side, he's a rested hockey player who is probably in the best shape of his life," Flyers GM Ron Hextall said. "You're talking about a special player here, don't forget. Players like this don't fall off trees. I think it's fair for Chicago. I think it's fair for us. There's a lot of upside in this deal for them. In the end, they may have underpaid by a longshot for this deal.
"If Kimmo had played all year and we moved him now, this wouldn't have been the return. It would've been far greater than this."
Then again, 43-year-old legend Jaromir Jagr nabbed a second round and conditional third round pick in a deal from New Jersey to Florida on Thursday.
Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said Timonen was "the defenseman we really wanted." The deal had been in the works for weeks, culminating Thursday night before medical forms were disclosed.
"No words needed," Flyers forward Jake Voracek (@jachobe) tweeted. "Good luck Kimmo. One of the best players I've ever played with. #classact"
Hextall said Timonen did not have a no-trade clause, and his $750,000 bonus due after 10 games played was only "a small piece of it." Interestingly, his deal could put Chicago - a team already in salary cap jail - in an even rougher predicament next season. That was apparently worth the risk.
Discussions originally began between Hextall and Timonen about a trade when he first started skating and the Flyers were 11 points back of a playoff spot. That they crawled to within four points never really made him waver to stay.
The Flyers aren't really in a worse-off position playoff-wise because Timonen never actually played a game for them. It's not like they were taking a piece out of their own lineup. Plus, the return would've even made that understandable.
"If he wouldn't have been amicable to be traded, we would not have traded him," Hextall said. "He's meant too much to this organization to trade him if it was against his wishes. It was a tough one. But it gives him a chance to win the ultimate prize."
Timonen leaves Philadelphia as a five-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy as top defensemen, including the last three consecutive years. He netted 290 points in 517 games with the Flyers after arriving on June 18, 2007 in a trade from Nashville with Scott Hartnell. He had a lengthy, emotional chat with Flyers chairman Ed Snider last night after the trade was consummated.
The last championship he won was in 1998 in the Finnish league. He's advanced to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final in 2010, captured Olympic silver and three bronze medals, and finished runner-up in three World Championships.
"Thanks for reminding me," Timonen joked.
He could ultimately end up back working with the Flyers in their front office, but he's tired of being left at the altar. He wants to Finnish the deal now.
"It's been an unbelievable 7 years," Timonen said. "I always wanted to retire here. But the (trade) discussion stayed in my head. I couldn't get my mind off the Blackhawks. That team brings such a good tone with it."
On Twitter: @frank_seravalli