Darryl Sutter can’t explain why Willie Mitchell didn’t skate for the second straight day, but the Kings’ head coach sure does sound frustrated with the time the veteran defenseman is taking to get back into action.
Per Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times, Sutter said he’s “not a doctor or a psychologist” and, therefore, can’t explain what’s going through the head of the 35-year-old blue-liner that’s been medically cleared to play after having knee surgery during the lockout.
Today wasn’t the first time Sutter’s expressed frustration with Mitchell’s slow return.
“You know what, he’s got doctor’s clearance,” Sutter said last week. “He’s got trainers’ clearance. Coaches want him to clear himself.
“So do it.”
The defending Stanley Cup champions host the Vancouver Canucks, the team they defeated in the first round of last year’s playoffs, tonight at the Staples Center.
Mitchell’s absence, combined with the back injury to Matt Greene, has meant even bigger minutes for Drew Doughty (28:58 per game).
In fact, no NHL defenseman has averaged more ice time per game than Doughty.
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.