Philly Sports Live

Brenden Morrow, Kimmo Timonen know time is running out for first Stanley Cup (Puck Daddy)

TAMPA — Brenden Morrow and Kimmo Timonen are this year’s Old Guys Who Haven’t Won a Stanley Cup Yet as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks battle for this season’s NHL title. Both have reached this stage of the season once before, but left without a ring. For Morrow, his opportunity to win a Cup came early in his career, his rookie season with the Dallas Stars to be exact. In Game 6, however, Patrik Elias found Jason Arnott in double overtime and the New Jersey Devils were champions. Fifteen years later, opportunity came calling a second time. “It was a long time coming. Fifteen years since the last trip here,” Morrow said during Tuesday’s Media Day. “Little naive at the time about what it all meant. It’s an exciting time. Don’t want to be overwhelmed by anything here … Grinding out for 15 years you never know when you’re going to get back.” Morrow quickly learned Cup opportunities don’t come easy. The Stars didn’t get past the second round until 2008 and then the lean years came as ownership issues and four playoff-less springs followed, leaving the veteran NHLer desiring one last run. When the 2013 trade deadline approached and it was clear Dallas wouldn’t be re-signing their long-time captain, he waived his no-trade clause for a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were eventually swept in the Eastern Conference Final that season.  Next, it was on to St. Louis, who fell to the Blackhawks in six games in Round 1 last spring. Last summer Morrow joined the Lightning mostly because he trusted in what GM Steve Yzerman was building in Tampa.  “It’s always the hope,” Morrow said of the pre-season Stanley Cup chances of the Lightning. “I didn’t know if it was this year, next year, I know they were a young group that came off getting swept against Montreal and you don’t know what kind of scar tissue that’s going to leave. I knew Steven Stamkos. I knew Victor Hedman. I knew Ben Bishop. I knew some of the guys here. I just didn’t know the ‘Triplets.’ I know them now.” The 36-year old Morrow has a had a long, decorated hockey career. He was a member of Team Canada when they won gold at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, the 2004 World Championships and the 2010 Olympics. Winning a Stanley Cup would be the “cherry on top,” as he put it. “When you get the opportunity you’ve got to take advantage and don’t have any regrets,” he said. “You can’t just expect to get back there.” *** Last August, no one was sure whether Kimmo Timonen would play hockey again. The long-time defenseman was diagnosed with blood clots, putting not only his season in jeopardy, but also his career. The 40-year old Timonen went through the recovery process and was hell-bent on leaving the game on his own terms, if he could. He announced his return in late February and was dealt by the Philadelphia Flyers to the Blackhawks for one final shot at the Cup.  When this season ends, so does Timonen’s 17-year NHL career. But Timonen’s return hasn’t gone as expected. He has yet to record a point through 31 regular season and playoff games for the Blackhawks and his minutes per game has dipped, as poor play meant Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville deciding to rely heavily upon his top-two defense pairings.  In Games 6 and 7 against the Anaheim Ducks, Timonen was a healthy scratch and it’s likely to stay that way, at least through Game 1 of the Final. And while things haven’t gone like he’s wished, he’s not ready to complain about his diminished role. “It’s been a long process to get to this point,” Timonen said Tuesday. “Am I frustrated? Yeah, but this is not about me. This is about the team and winning the Stanley Cup. I’m going to do everything I can to help this team moving forward. I can easily show up to the rink and be mad, be whiny but I won’t do that. That’s not my role. That’s not my job. I’m going to stay positive and if there’s a chance they need me I’m ready to go.”  Along with Timonen, David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey have had turns on the third pairing. It doesn’t look like Quenneville will ease off the gas for the likes of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, so the Finnish blueliner is left to wait his turn.  “Different role probably would have helped,” Timonen said. “I knew coming in these four D are going to play a lot and they’ll be playing really well. I was hoping to play better, but it just didn’t happen. I was kind of hoping to be 10 years younger, but that didn’t happen either.” Like Morrow, Timonen has had his share of accolades in his hockey career. He represented Finland in four Olympic games, taking home three bronze medals along with a silver, and also won three silvers at the World Championships. Capping things off, he’d sure love to be on the ice playing if Chicago wins their third Cup in six seasons. “If everything works out well and we eventually win the Cup, I thought it’s more just what I did to my career anyway,” he said. “It’s been a long 17 years, 1,100 games. I paid my dues. If it happens, that’s great.” – – – – – – – Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY: