Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: willie mitchell
Below, watch Willie Mitchell post-games after the Panthers 6-4 loss to the Flames today.
Sunrise, FL- Florida Panthers Head Coach Gerard Gallant announced today that D Willie Mitchell has been named captain for the 2014-15 season. He joins Brian Skrudland (1993-1997), Scott Mellanby (1997-2001), Paul Laus/Pavel Bure (2001-2002), Olli Jokinen (2005-2008), Bryan McCabe (2009-2011) and Ed Jovanovski (2013-2014) as the other team captains in the club’s 21-year history.
Mitchell, 37, has played in 795 career National Hockey League games for New Jersey (1999-2001), Minnesota (2000-2006), Dallas (2005-2006), Vancouver (2006-2010) and Los Angeles (2010-2014), scoring 30 goals with 135 assists and 744 penalty minutes. He has played in 89 post-season games, registering 16 points (4-12-16), winning the Stanley Cup twice with Los Angeles in 2012 and 2014.
Mitchell served as captain of the Wild in January of 2006 during Minnesota’s rotating captaincy as well as an alternate captain in Vancouver.
The Florida Panthers nearly stole the spotlight away from the Wings and Leafs during HBO's 24/7 series, and of the Atlantic Division's non-playoff teams I'd argue that the franchise may be a Phoenix Coyotes East off the ice (their financial situation is quite the mess), but on the ice, the Panthers have the greatest chance of serving as not only a playoff spoiler for their Eastern Conference opponents, but also a potential playoff-qualifying team.
NHL.com's "30 in 30" series profiles the Pantehrs today, and they note that Dale Tallon was predictably aggressive in improving the Panthers' roster over the past half-year, trading for Roberto Luongo and signing Jussi Jokinen, Willie Mitchell and another former Blackhawk (the Panthers have more than a few players from Tallon's previous employer's team) in David Bolland; they note that the Panthers' top prospect, Aaron Ekblad, is probably NHL-ready, and of course the Panthers hired a new coaching staff headlined by Gerard Gallant, too...
And in addition to discussing Ekblad's would-be defensive partners and "5 Questions" that the team faces going into the 14-15 season, NHL.com's Alain Poupart engages in a conversation with Tallon that, let's say involves personnel moves which allow more substantive, "We aren't that far off" talk than what was issued by Saturday's profiled team:
The theory was that very few free agent players were actually going to meet with teams' coaches or general managers during the "wining and dining period"--which ends today--because the draft's location in Philadelphia would yield too much of a hubbub (see: players being chased down by the media as they go from hotel to hotel and meeting room to meeting room)...
But the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that the seemingly inevitable marriage between Thomas Vanek and the Minnesota Wild will get a meet-and-greet kick in the pants on Monday:
With the free-agent market set to open Tuesday at 11 a.m. [Central Daylight Time], pending free agent Thomas Vanek was scheduled to sit down with Wild coach Mike Yeo late Sunday. General Manager Chuck Fletcher was not expected to be at the meeting.
For more than a year, Vanek has seemed destined to sign with the Wild. The 30-year-old former Gophers star turned down lucrative long-term contracts last season with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders in order to become a free agent.
However, the Wild appears set to offer Vanek only a short-term contract, so he likely will have a tough decision to make Tuesday because it’s expected that he’ll have the chance to sign longer-term deals for more money with other teams.
But wait, there's more, especially in the, "WILD WILL SIGN EVERYBODEYZ" category:
When player agent Neil Sheehy's left International Falls, Minnesota prior to the draft, you know the wining and dining period is underway. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that the WIld plan on speaking to the agent who once got a free flight back home (after the Wild and Red Wings made their pitches to Ryan Suter) by owner Craig Leipold on Thursday in Philly, and it sounds like the Wild are aiming for the free agent stars:
It’s not believed the Wild had any formal sit-downs yet, but General Manager Chuck Fletcher contacted at least the agents of defensemen Matt Niskanen and Willie Mitchell, goal scorer Thomas Vanek and center Paul Stastny, NHL sources confirmed. At a minimum, Fletcher is expected to meet with Niskanen’s agent, Neil Sheehy, and Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett, while they’re all in Philadelphia this week for the NHL draft.
Vanek, 30, the former Gophers star who lives in Stillwater, might have to consider a one- to three-year deal from the Wild if he wants to play at home in Minnesota.
That’s because it’s clear the Wild has significant interest in Niskanen, who lives in Tower, Minn. The 27-year-old right-shot blue-liner had a career year with the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 10 goals and finishing 13th among defensemen with 46 points. He led all defensemen with a plus-33 rating.
The question is whether Vanek would forgo potential long-term security elsewhere for the opportunity to stay in Minnesota. After all, he turned down a seven-year, $49 million contract offer from the Islanders last season and an even more lucrative offer from the Sabres.
Continued with talk about Willie Mitchell returning to Minnesota, and again, Russo reported that the players represented by top agents probably won't be in Philadelphia (though it would not surprise me if a little man in a top hat calling himself AnDay OyleBay makes an appearance ), it appears to be time for each and every team interested in a free agent to talk contract...Cheesesteak.
Ken Daneyko appeared on the NHL Live on Wednesday afternoon, and he made some surprising remarks.
As far as Daneyko is concerned, Matt Niskanen may turn out to be some team's modern-day version of the Rangers signing Bobby Holik to a $9 million-a-season contract as a 3rd-liner--Daneyko believes that Niskanen is not necessarily a top-two defenseman, and he feels that someone is going to overpay significantly for Niskanen having a career year. He suggests that, "Just because other teams sign outrageous contracts, it doesn't mean you should," so he feels $5-6 million is too much for Niskanen...
Daneyko also suggests that Brooks Orpik is a "complementary" stay-at-home, physical defenseman, not a puck-mover, and he wonders how much Orpik "has left in the tank" (as such, Daneyko feels that Orpik's health = term is a concern);
The NHL's free agent "wining and dining" period has begun, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that teams interested in some of the top UFA's-to-be will be sorely disappointed if they were hoping to speak with them in Philadelphia:
Last year, when bought-out Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier was seen in a New York hotel, reporters and TV stations camped out in the lobby. That’s why the agents of Vanek and Niskanen both say neither client will come to Philadelphia.
“The whole [interview period] isn’t working, at least from the player side, the way it was intended,” said agent Steve Bartlett, whose top two free agents this cycle are [Thomas] Vanek and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan. “It handcuffs everybody when everybody’s sitting in Philly. The way this was envisioned was players could go into cities and see the schools, the neighborhoods, look at the facilities, go out to dinner. When someone has to make what often they feel is a pressure decision on July 1 or 2, they want to have a sense more than just what they might know from playing on a visiting team.”
It's believed that Callahan's close to re-signing with Tampa Bay...[edit: and while I was thinking out loud, I'm sure that the GM's and team officials know that these players won't be in Philly, and as such, they've probably already booked flights to the major agents' offices in Toronto, which are generally located in nondescript buildings near Lester B. Pearson International Airport]
Bartlett won’t bring any of his pending free agents to Philadelphia. Agent Don Meehan, whose agency, Newport Sports, represents pending free agents such as Jarome Iginla, Brad Richards, David Legwand and the Wild’s Matt Moulson, said he won’t either.
However, one agent who asked not to be named because he doesn’t want to create a distraction, said he might bring a “few of my lesser free agents.”
Russo continues, and while he simply says that Matt Niskanen won't be in Philadephia, either, it's intimated as his agent, Neil Sheehy, didn't comment per se [edit: Sheehy is based in the remote location of International Falls, Minnesota, so it's kind of hard to miss a GM taking a connecting flight to the border of Minnesota and Ontario at Minneapolis-St. Paul]; in his blog, Russo states that Bartlett will sell Vanek to clients based upon his body of regular-season work:
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brad+richards, clayton+stoner, david+legwand, don+meehan, jarome+iginla, minnesota+wild, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning, thomas+vanek, vincent+lecavalier, willie+mitchell
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.
That was most certainly intriguing. For the second consecutive game, the Los Angeles Kings surrendered a 2-0 lead; for the second consecutive game, the Kings forced overtime, overcoming both the Rangers' relentless attack and their own defensive mistakes (Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene did not have the best nights in their own end); and for the second consecutive game, the Los Angeles Kings persevered and prevailed, with Dustin Brown tipping Willie Mitchell's shot past Henrik Lundqvist 10:26 into the second OT period.
Los Angeles prevails 5-4, and now the series gets interesting: both teams will have to try to get their players to bed sooner than later as 9 AM Pacific Daylight Time flights are on the Sunday docket, and the teams will play three games in five nights, so we may see the kind of mental fatigue that played into tonight's score leak its way into regulation time action.
Justin Williams had 3 assists, Willie Mitchell had a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Quick stopped 34 shots for LA; Derik Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan McDonagh had 1-goal-and-1-assist games for the Rangers, Rick Nash had 8 shots, and Henrik Lundqvist (who may or may not have issued a Dustin Brown-style dive at one point--quite a bit of diving in this series!) stopped 39 for New York.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: derick+brassard, dustin+brown, henrik+lundqvist, jonathan+quick, justin+williams, los+angeles+kings, mats+zuccarello, matt+greene, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+mcdonagh, willie+mitchell
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
"All this really didn't start until late October, early November of the lockout. In the summer it was business as usual, doing your summer training and stuff like that. Then I started to get some knee pain when I was working out and it gradually progressed. I found out I had a meniscus tear.
"I ended up getting a procedure done. No one knows for sure, but I rushed it for sure because the lockout had ended and the season was about to get started. We had Matt Greene go down on defence [with season-ending back injury in late January]. It was a shortened season. Every game counts. We wanted to go back-to-back. So I tried to press myself to get back in there, myself and the team.
"At that point and time I kept trying to comeback, but the knee kept getting inflammation. So it was time to get a second set of eyes on it. We went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. I had Dr. Stuart perform a second procedure. With that done and proper rest, I also worked with [renowned Los Angeles-based sports physical therapist Dr.] John Meyer, who has worked with Kobe Bryant when he had his knee issues.
"I committed myself after getting all this help, seeing the best. I also had an alternative treatment [Orthokine] you have probably read about."
Orthokine is a treatment, in which an athlete's blood is removed, spun in a filter to extract platelet-rich plasma, then mixed with other substances and injected back into the athlete's damaged area.
Mitchell is scheduled to play tonight in Denver.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Mitchell will be playing in his first Stanley Cup Final, which will open Wednesday with the Kings playing either the New York Rangers or the New Jersey Devils. If it’s the Devils, it will be a homecoming of sorts for Mitchell, because that team originally drafted him with its 12th choice (199th overall) in 1993. Nine years ago, in his second full NHL season with Minnesota, Mitchell advanced as far as the Western Conference finals, but the Wild was swept by the Ducks.
So when Kings teammate Dustin Penner scored the series-clinching goal in overtime in Game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes, Mitchell said the feeling was “surreal.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said Thursday in El Segundo. “I was fortunate to be out on the ice when Big Pens scored. Some guys were jumping. I was just sitting there. I was like, ‘Is this happening?’ So I feel fortunate to get this chance and get the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup for real.”
Remember Willie, no parade planning until the final horn sounds…
“...When you play a little while, that becomes first and foremost, just having a shot at the Stanley Cup. You can go that (free-agency) route, but it’s very unpredictable where you could end up. For me, I’ve played a little while and it’s all about winning. I want a Cup. I don’t have that. A couple guys around here do, and I hear the stories, I hear everything. I’ve been to the conference finals, but that’s what drives me and that’s what motivates me, on the — I wouldn’t say latter half — but the later stages of my career. That’s what I want to accomplish, and I think we’ve got some good people around here and we can get that accomplished….”
-Willie Mitchell after signing an extension with the LA Kings. More from Mitchell by Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider.
via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Willie Mitchell has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Kings worth $7 million. Mitchell, who will turn 35 in April, had signed a two-year, $7-million contract with the Kings in Aug. 2010 as an unrestricted free agent.
“We play this great game [in which] I get into a car wreck six times a night, 82 times a year, plus playoffs, now in my 13th season at the professional level. The rest of my teammates do, too. How many people get into a car wreck in their [entire] life? Hopefully never, but maybe once in their life?”
“[Hitting is] part of the game. We accept that, we know it can happen. It’s a physical game. We go out and play the sport knowing that, and that’s what makes it great, fast, [and] exciting. I’d just like to see us take away all the things that are in our control to not have my peers susceptible to [concussions].”
-Willie Mitchell of the Los Angeles Kings. More from Mitchell on concussions from Gann Matsuda of Frozen Royalty.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer
“We feel we can compete for the Stanley Cup, and that’s what we’re preparing for. The big thing is when your general manager and the ownership goes out and makes the moves and spends the money that they did, it’s a vote of confidence in us as a group to say that they think we’re ready. It’s like anything in life. When people believe in you, you tend to get the best out of people.”
-Willie Mitchell of the LA Kings. More on the Kings from the CP at The Hockey News.
via Helene Elliott tweet,
uh-oh: Kings say Mitchell has fractured wrist and will be out 4 to 6 wks, and Ponikarovsky has fractured finger and will miss 4 weeks.
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
X-rays taken of defenseman Willie Mitchell, who was injured during the Kings’ 4-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday night, showed no break or fracture, but he will undergo an MRI on Monday, a team spokesman said.
Mitchell, off to a fine start with the Kings, played only two shifts in the second period after suffering what the club called an upper-body injury. It’s believed he injured an arm. Coach Terry Murray said after Saturday’s game that he had not seen the play because it happened on the far side of the ice. The X-rays were done after the game.
The Kings, who have won four straight games and five of their last six, don’t play again until Thursday, when they face the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. That should give Mitchell some extra time to heal.
continue for more Kings talk…
“My opinion is that everyone has made a big issue out of this and I think there’s other things that are going on in our game that are much more severe, whether it’s headshots—and I keep going back to that—and the lack of action on that. It’s something we’ve seen the NFL start to do and hopefully our league follows suit. The game’s faster, guys are bigger, it would be nice to see if they protected the players a little more.”
-LA Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell on the Rick Rypien suspension. More from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum.
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
“We all love this game, we want to get out there and win a Stanley Cup,” Mitchell said. “That’s why we’ve played 5,000 road hockey games, to have a shot at it. That’s why we do what we do at the end of the day. That’s what challenges us. We push our limits.”
That’s why, after suffering a concussion in a collision with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Mitchell was out hiking in March and April, pushing his body in hopes of getting ready for the playoffs.
His body pushed back.
The symptoms from the concussion came rushing back.
“It’s almost like you’re autistic,” he said. “You’re overly sensitive, you can’t deal with light and sound.”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
...it seems he’s had another blow to the head, what with the quote he gave our Jim Jamieson on Thursday upon the news of the ultimatum the league gave the Players Association on the Ilya Kovalchuk and Roberto Luongo contracts now thankfully settled.
Quoth Mitchell: “We have a big gap in our union where you have the star player and the blue-collar player. All those top-end guys are getting paid more and more and the bottom-end guys are getting less and less. Maybe if we come to something more level, it might help the rest of our union.”
Now we know what he was driving at but the question is, when did Mitchell become a socialist and when did he start quaffing the Bettman Kool-Aid? No wonder the owners are in such great shape if this is the quality of understanding of the CBA at the player-rep level.
from Rich Hammond of Kings.com,
Whether he ends up being paired with Drew Doughty or Jack Johnson—the two most likely options, heading into training camp—Mitchell will play a significant role in the Kings’ stated goal of improving their 5-on-5 scoring margin.
Mitchell chuckled at the discovery that he, at 33, is the Kings’ oldest defenseman—now that Sean O’Donnell has moved on to Philadelphia—and the Kings will particularly rely on Mitchell during the first month, while Matt Greene recovers from shoulder surgery.
For the past two seasons in Vancouver, though, Mitchell served as an alternate captain, so he figures to become part of the Kings’ leadership group, if only informally.
“I’ve been fortunate to be around some great, great minds in the game,” Mitchell said. “I was coached by Jacques Lemaire, by Larry Robinson, and I thank God that I was lucky enough to listen to those guys. They’re great, great minds. I played with Scotty Stevens and (Scott) Niedermayer, and I think I learned a lot of things from those great players and great minds. I hope to maybe help out in that capacity a little bit with some of the young players on this team.”
via Nick Kypreos tweet,
I’m told clubs have been notified they are out of Mitchell race. Look for LA Kings to announce Willie Mitchell soon on a multi year deal.
added 3:00pm, via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
The Kings have reached an agreement with defenseman Willie Mitchell for a two-year contract worth $3.5 million per year.
from Jason Botchford of The White Towel at the Vancouver Province,
The front runners for Mitchell’s services are four elite (ish) teams — San Jose, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Washington, where Mitchell was put through the paces Tuesday.
His trip to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex Tuesday, completing his four-city North American tour, indicates the Capitals are considering something equivalent to the two-year offer the Los Angeles Kings tabled last week.
It makes sense. The Capitals have both talent and youth on their blueline but lack grit and toughness after losing Shaone Morrisonn to the Buffalo Sabres. Whether Mitchell is physical enough to fill a void is something the Capitals are exploring.
With Mitchell expected to make a decision in the next week, can the Canucks compete with multiple offers? Are they still in it?
Sources tell Sportsnet that after working out with the Los Angeles Kings last week, Mitchell has apparently showcased his health to the San Jose Sharks and his club for the last four seasons, the Vancouver Canucks.
Mitchell is trying to make a comeback after suffering a season-ending concussion last January.
The workouts have reportedly gone well, and now the 33-year-old is expected to visit the Washington Capitals.
It is believed Mitchell will make up his mind on his future by the end of the week.
So I have a question for you.
Where does Willie Mitchell land and extra credit if you give me the terms of the contract?
“The Red Wings, they’re one of the teams. Everybody is interested in the Red Wings.”
-Mike Liut, agent for Willie Mitchell. More from Craig Custance of The Sporting News.
from Micahel Russo of Russo’s Rants,
I hear he’s gotten a clean bill of health and has begun taking physicals for a few teams. I think he’ll sign soon. The former Wild defenseman, I’m told, actually could sign a contract with performance bonuses because he spent 100 days on injured reserve last year—including the playoffs. The CBA doesn’t spell out whether the 100 days is only during the regular season, so it appears after inquiries from Mitchell and the player, the league will allow this type of contract. I bet it’ll be for a base of $1 or $1.5 million on a one-year deal plus bonuses.
He’s not coming to Minnesota. I think Washington and San Jose are definite possibilities. I also hear he met with Vancouver recently, although I don’t know how the Canucks can re-sign Mitchell since they’re over the cap.
read on for more Wild talk…
via Dan Murphy tweet,
Willy Mitchell feeling great after 18 days of training/skating. He’s narrowed 12 interested teams to 4 and suprise! Van may still be in mix
thanks to Nucks Misconduct for the pointer
That is Willie Mitchell. Many of you know Willie Mitchell did not return to the Canucks last season after taking a hit from Evgeni Malkin in mid-January.
Mitchell suffered from post-concussion syndrome but recent reports state he is feeling better.
Will a team take a shot and sign him long-term, will they wait until September to see how he feels or will teams just stay away from him totally?
When healthy, Mitchell is a top 4 defenseman and a very solid defensive player.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Ran into former Wild defenseman Willie Mitchell and his wife last night here in Minneapolis, and Mitchell, who completed a four-year deal with his hometown Vancouver Canucks, is recovering well from a concussion that cost him much of this past season. He was hit from behind by Evgeni Malkin. Mitchell definitely has plans to hook on with a team later this summer, but he’ll be patient to continue his recovery.
Heck, maybe the Wild comes after him later in the summer. I still maintain the Wild needs another NHL defenseman.
more plus other Wild notes…
from Jason Botchford of The White Towel,
Nearly four months since suffering a concussion which has kept him away from hockey, an emotional, red-eyed Willie Mitchell returned to target the NHL and indict chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell for his inconsistency in dealing with head shots.
Mitchell said he was disappointed by Campbell’s decision making. He said a neutral party is needed in Campbell’s role because his “relationships” with teams and players can bias rulings.
“I know Colin Campbell has a lot of relationships with general managers and owners and stuff like that,” Mitchell said. “It’s very tough to hand down decisions on matters like this when you’re friends with people.
“It’s like saying I have to discipline my teammates. It’s too emotional. You can’t always make the right decision.”
note 4:10pm: I changed the link and story since the original one was reomoved…
If you need a refresher, watch the hit below…
from the CP at TSN,
Injured defenceman Willie Mitchell made a rare visit to the Vancouver Canucks dressing room Tuesday.
Mitchell, who has rarely been seen around GM Place since suffering a concussion in January, slipped in and out before Game 6 of the team’s Western Conference semifinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Everybody talked to him,” said defenceman Kevin Bieksa. “He’s hanging around and he really wanted to come to the rink and talk to the guys. There was no reason for it. He just wants to be around the guys.”
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,
It has now been nearly four weeks since defenceman Willie Mitchell suffered his concussion and there’s still no word on how much longer he will be out.
It’s clear that Mitchell, who suffered the injury Jan. 18 when he was run into the end boards by Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, won’t be playing any hockey before the Olympic break.
Now you have to wonder if he’ll be ready to go after the Olympics. The Canucks clearly miss his presence, especially on their struggling penalty kill.
“From what I can understand he has been getting better by the day, but he is still not symptom-free,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. “That’s all I know.”
Asked Wednesday if he expected Mitchell to be ready to play post-Olympics, Vigneault said: “Who knows with concussions. We are all keeping our fingers crossed.”
from Ben Kuzma of The White Towel,
The Vancouver Canucks hoped for the best but confirmed the worst Monday.
Willie Mitchell isn’t expected to join his teammates when the Vancouver Canucks open an eight-game road trip on Saturday in Toronto because the blueliner is suffering from post-concussion syndrome.
“I think we can safely say that Willie has a concussion,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “Right now, he’s close to symptom free and he’s day-to-day.”
continue for more on the Canucks…
Emails streamed in overnight, claiming Mitchell should be suspended for his hit on Gilbert last night.
Watch and listen to what Gilbert thinks of the hit. End of story!
from Flames Insider at the Calgary Herald,
Geez, tough marker. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault appeared reluctant to give the Flames much credit for their one clear decision — Jarome Iginla’s left-hand flooring of Willie Mitchell in the first period.
“They have a great leader obviously in Jarome and he was a man on a mission tonight,” said Vigneault after his team’s 4-3 overtime triumph on Pavol Demitra’s heroics. “But you know Willie was a man on a mission too — he did a great job defensively against him and he stood up toe to toe. If Jarome’s sweater doesn’t rip, I don’t think he wins that one.”
continued for more reaction to the OT win by Calgary and watch the Iginal/Mitchell battle below…
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Nudged by coach Alain Vigneault, (Willie) Mitchell is committed to setting an example this offseason, trying to take a step forward into the leadership void created by the departure of Canuck mainstays Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison and Trevor Linden….
Mitchell hasn’t had much time for leisure this summer. He said he took just one fishing trip. He started skating regularly in July in Minnesota, his earliest ever start, and already has ramped up his off-ice training to five days a week.
“It’s not easy and it’s not fun,” Mitchell said. “This isn’t exactly the most enjoyable time of year for hockey players—you’re running stairs and doing things where you’re almost passing out. That’s not fun.
“But No. 1 for me is to get ready to have a great season and if I do that it’s really going to help this team. I’m not happy with how last season turned out. No one can be.”
From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
Defenceman Willie Mitchell chose his words carefully but it was clear Monday he was annoyed by the public criticism directed at him by coach Alain Vigneault following the Vancouver Canucks’ loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Some things should stay in the dressing room, Mitchell said.
“If people are unhappy with things, (as a) player you’d like to have that addressed,” he said. “You don’t like to hear about it through the media most of the time. That’s his way of motivating I guess.”
from the Times Colonist,
“Hockey is popular in Minnesota [where Mitchell spent more than three NHL seasons with the Wild], but being back playing in a Canadian city is a whole different ball game with the crazy amount of attention you receive,” says Mitchell.
And this isn’t just any Canadian team Mitchell finds himself with, but the home-province team he grew up adoring as a kid.
“It gets a little crazy, but it’s all part of it and I enjoy what I do,” said the product of the North Island Eagles minor hockey teams.
“I’m lucky to be doing it. But it can be a little overwhelming being a Canuck in B.C. and trying to balance that with personal and family time.”