Willie Mitchell is reportedly 'symptom-free' after fighting concussion problems

williemitchellfreeagent.jpgOf the most prominent free agents waiting for a contract, Willie Mitchell’s situation is probably the most “in his hands.” Even at a slightly advanced age, the rugged shutdown defenseman would certainly receive more attention if concussion issues didn’t bring his health into serious question.

There might be good news on that front, though. Sean Zanberg of Nucks Misconduct passes along a note from Dan Murphy that the (possibly former?) Vancouver Canucks D-man is progressing nicely in the rehab process.

Dan Murphy tweeted a little while ago that Willie Mitchell has been training and skating for 18 days and is symptom-free of his nasty concussion. Murphy says that Mitchell has narrowed his choice destination from 12 interested teams down to 4. Vancouver is most likely in the mix. I am glad for Mitchell. For the Canucks to retain his services though, they are going to have to move more than just a Kevin Bieksa. On top of that, Mike Gillis still needs to shore up the Canucks’ bottom 6.

As Zanberg wrote, the Canucks are unlikely to bring Mitchell back since they already added Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard. (I also agree that a healthy Mitchell might be a better option than Ballard, but that’s not really the most relevant discussion at this point.) Even with an ailing Sami Salo opening up some room, it’s doubtful that Mitchell will fit in their cap scenario.

If he’s indeed healthy, Mitchell could be useful for just about any NHL team with the necessary cap space. Want to read more about the pluses and minuses of bringing him in? Click here.

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    Video: Haley given match penalty for sucker punch, Sharks lose sixth straight

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    Things continue to snowball out of control for the San Jose Sharks.

    The Sharks lost their sixth consecutive game after yet another blowout defeat, this time by a final score of 7-2 versus the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Forward Logan Couture lost a tooth after taking a puck to the face in the second period.

    And late in the game, Micheal Haley was given a match penalty for an incident involving Calle Jarnkrok.

    The Sharks forward is now automatically suspended until commissioner Gary Bettman reviews the incident.

    This incident occurred when Haley was hit into the boards by Jarnkrok. Haley then got up, sped right toward the Predators forward, dropped his gloves and delivered a punch to Jarnkrok as he tried to back away, knocking him to the ice.

    Jarnkrok was given a minor penalty for boarding.

    Haley was also involved in a fight with Cody McLeod early in the first period.

    This has been a particularly shocking, if not embarrassing stretch for the Sharks. In a two-game trip to Dallas and Nashville, against teams below them in the standings, the Sharks were outscored 13-3.

    Martin Jones allowed seven goals on 34 shots faced.

    If Edmonton wins tonight, the Sharks, Ducks and Oilers will be in a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division.

    Related: What is wrong with the Sharks?

    Video: Logan Couture loses tooth after taking a puck to the face

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    More bad news for the San Jose Sharks.

    After a slow start against the Nashville Predators during Saturday’s game, forward Logan Couture was hurt in the dying seconds of the middle period after taking a puck to the face while battling in front of the net.

    Replays show Couture appeared to lose a tooth. He quickly skated off the ice and to the dressing room.

    Bruins snap four-game skid with crucial win over Islanders

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    The Boston Bruins have been trending in the wrong direction of late — once again at the worst possible time with the end of the regular season in sight and a playoff spot on the line.

    They entered a massive clash with the New York Islanders on Saturday having lost four straight, temporarily falling out of a playoff spot because of fewer games played.

    They didn’t have Tuukka Rask in net because of a lower-body injury. They were on the road. They fell behind the Islanders early in the first period.

    Despite that, the Bruins quickly came back on a goal from Riley Nash, who scored again in the third period to help his team to a 2-1 victory.

    The four-game losing streak? Gone. With seven games remaining, Boston is back in the final wild card spot, two points ahead of the Islanders, who do still have a game in hand.

    “We have a great mood in here this morning, everyone’s excited and pretty light and there’s no tense feel,” said Brad Marchand prior to facing the Islanders.

    Back-up goaltending has been a concern in Boston this season, however Anton Khudobin shut the door after the Tavares goal, making 18 saves for the win.

    The Bruins host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

    Video: After blowout loss in Dallas, struggling Sharks off to slow start vs. Predators

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    Last night, we asked: What is wrong with the San Jose Sharks?

    Well, a day later, with the Sharks looking to avoid a sixth straight loss, the struggle continues.

    After a blowout loss last night against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have fallen behind the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0 after the opening period.

    Colton Sissons opened the scoring for Nashville.

    It didn’t get any better for the Sharks.

    Roman Josi walked right around Brent Burns, hitting the cross bar with his shot. Cody McLeod was right there for the tap-in to increase Nashville’s lead.