Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/09/14 at 08:39 AM ET
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
“I couldn’t focus on you to answer a question,” said Mitchell earlier this week, on the concussion that sidelined him for almost eight months in the 2009-10 season. “You know? It just hurt. And probably for me, at the time I was in Vancouver, and the team was in the playoffs on that run, and you feel like you could help, and you try to watch the games on TV and can’t watch the games, because it kind of hurts.”
It was bad enough that retirement loomed, and he decided that his brain was under stress — he compared it to a computer with too many programs running, and he tried to simplify. He was up in Port McNeill, the small fishing port on northern Vancouver Island, and he would walk in the woods, up and down the river, listening to the birds and the silence.
His brain started to come back into focus, and his hockey career did, too. The morning of Game 4 of the Cup final in 2012, with the Kings on the verge of a series sweep, Mitchell was almost crying while talking to reporters. He’d come through the darkness, and found the light. When they won the Cup, Brown picked it up, hoisted it in the air, and the first guy he passed it to was Willie Mitchell.
And then Mitchell’s knee required surgery, and then another, and the 2013 season was wiped out, and he wondered again if it was over. And the concussion helped.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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