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Timmins feeling better, progressing

June 26, 2019, 8:19 PM ET [1 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It’s been over a year since Conor Timmins was healthy enough to play in a game, so being able to take part in on-ice drills at Avalanche development camp is a significant sign of progress.

Timmins, who was the Avalanche’s second-round pick (No. 32) in the 2017 NHL draft, missed all of last season while recovering from post-concussion symptoms. He was injured on a hit in an Ontario Hockey League postseason game in May 2018 while playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

“Yeah, I think things are progressing well,” he said Wednesday at the Family Sports Center in Centennial. “Obviously, you don’t know how things are going to go with this kind of injury, so I’m just trying to take it day by day and work on getting better each day. I’m not officially fully cleared, but I’m just taking it day by day. We’re trying to kind of wrap things up as we go.”

Timmins, who turns 21 in September, said the support he’s received from his family and the Avalanche organization has been invaluable in this difficult time.

“My family’s been really important in this,” he said. “I know I can always call and talk to them. The organization has been great, just allowing me to take my time and kind of know when I’m ready. Also just guys on the AHL (Eagles) team and the NHL team, they’ve all been really supportive, really inclusive. I just want to thank all of them because they’ve really helped me get to this point.

“It’s been really tough. Obviously, you love to play the game, that’s why you’re here. To sit out and watch every day is tough, but you try and use the time to your best advantage and try and get better each day.”

Patience has been an important part of Timmins’ game, an attribute he’s had to call on during these difficult days.

“I consider myself a patient person, but like I said, when you love to play the game that much it’s really tough to sit out,” he said. “You just got to be patient and hope for the best, work your hardest each day, have a good attitude and hopefully things will turn around.”

Timmins had 61 points (seven goals, 54 assists) in 67 regular-season games in 2016-17 with the Greyhounds, with eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 11 postseason games.

The 6-foot-2, 184-pound Timmins was named the Western Conference’s "Best Defensive Defenseman” in an OHL coaches poll in 2017-18 when he had 41 points (eight goals, 33 assists) in 36 games, and 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 23 postseason games.

Timmins helped Team Canada win the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo with five points (one goal, four assists) in seven games.

The Avalanche have been building a talented and mobile defense with Samuel Girard, 21, Cale Makar, 20, Tyson Barrie, 27, and now Timmins if he can remain healthy.

They used their first-round pick (No. 4) in last weekend’s NHL draft on Bowen Byram, 18, who was being given a chance to make the 2019-20 opening-night roster even before news surfaced that Ian Cole (hips) and Erik Johnson (shoulder) are recovering from offseason surgeries.

For now, Timmins is hopeful of playing Friday in the Avalanche’s 3-on-3 game at the EPIC Blue Arena in Ft. Collins.

“It’s not really a full-contact event and I’m just trying to take it step by step, and that’s the next step,” he said. “Every day I take a step forward is a big step with this kind of injury. It’s been a while and just for me to get out there with the boys is really fun. I really enjoyed myself out there.”

Timmins was able to take part in Avalanche practices at times last season, but he was eventually shut down.

“Everything was improving, was getting better day by day,” he said. “I’ve still got a ways to go, but you just like to see the improvement. It gives you hope for the future. I was happy to be out there today.

“You don’t want to have setbacks at this point once you’ve come so far, so we’re still being cautious, we’re still being safe. At the same time, you have to push yourself back into game situations.”

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