Details have emerged from Los Angeles about the health of Willie Mitchell, and they’re not good.
On Monday, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter told reporters Mitchell underwent knee surgery during the lockout — adding that the veteran defenseman’s recovery is behind schedule.
“He’s way behind,” Sutter explained. “He should have been a couple of weeks. Now it’s almost seven.”
Mitchell hasn’t participated in Kings’ training camp and GM Dean Lombardi said it’s “a little harder” to put a timetable on his return, given Mitchell’s not skating.
Sutter said he was uncertain when Mitchell could even return to practice, and it’s expected he won’t be available when the Kings host Chicago in Saturday’s season opener at Staples Center.
The 35-year-old was a key contributor for the Kings a year ago, scoring a career-best 24 points in 76 games.
In the playoffs, Mitchell averaged over 25 minutes per game — second only to Drew Doughty — and led the Kings in blocked shots, with 55.
Update: As per Lisa Dillman of the LA Times, Lombardi said Mitchell had knee surgery approximately two months ago. He had resumed skating, but suffered a setback and hasn’t been back on the ice since.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.