Willie Mitchell

Willie Mitchell on Torres suspension: “It’s about time they got aggressive”

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When Willie Mitchell was looking for a contract in the summer of 2010, the red flags were obvious: his concussion issues absolutely threatened his career. Eventually the Los Angeles Kings signed him to a “risky” two-year contract and he’s been a helpful part of a great defense. With his history of head injuries, Mitchell had a lot of interesting things to say about the big Raffi Torres suspension, as he told Rich Hammond.

“First of all, I just want to say that it’s just not Raffi,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. If you’re a repeat offender, it’s about time they got aggressive. I give Brendan (Shanahan) and the league compliments, because they’ve done a good job in the regular season. I think, in the playoffs, they maybe got away from it early on, and they set a precedent that was tough to get away from.”

Mitchell believes that Byron Bitz probably deserved more than just a couple games for boarding Kyle Clifford, calling it a “five, 10, 25 thing.” Yet perhaps the most interesting material comes when Mitchell speaks from experience when it comes to how this will affect Marian Hossa – both on and off the ice.

“It hurts the team, but the No. 1 person it hurts — and I’ve been through three of them — is Marian Hossa,” Mitchell said. “That’s his life. His life is changed. There’s no doubt about it. It’s changed. Obviously it’s changed, where he’s not healthy and he’s in pain every day, but it’s changed from the fact that he’s much more susceptible to another one. It’s changed that maybe he might have issues for the rest of his life.”

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win. They’ve spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.