The Los Angeles Kings didn’t land the big fish (Ilya Kovalchuk) this summer, but they might be better off if Willie Mitchell can actually stay healthy this season.
Mitchell admitted that one of the most significant draws (besides the sexy weather, I’m guessing) was the possibility of playing alongside – or at least on the same blueline with – Kings stud defenseman Drew Doughty. The experienced defenseman knew Doughty was super-skilled, but he found out quickly that he knows how to make a great first impression too.
Here’s more from Helene Elliott.
“I wore No. 8 in Vancouver. The first day he came in he was like, ‘Willie you can take my number,’ and I think that just speaks volumes of him as a kid,” Mitchell said.
He declined Doughty’s generous offer. “I said, ‘No, you had too good of a year last year. You’ve got to keep rocking that thing,’ ” Mitchell said, laughing.
“I think that speaks volumes of him. We were on the ice together the other day as a pair. It was fun seeing what he can do, how he reads and feels the game. I look forward to having a chance to play with him.”
That’s a great gesture from Doughty, an often dazzling player who hopefully will gain more exposure next season. Mitchell is a great fit for the team, whether the Kings opt to pair him with another defensive specialist in Rob Scuderi or a young blueliner such as Doughty or Jack Johnson. If Doughty-Mitchell is indeed a primary pairing, they certainly got off on the right foot.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.