By Sunday’s account to LA Kings Insider, defenseman Willie Mitchell shouldn’t be considered an X-factor heading into the 2013-14 season. The 36-year-old sounds good to go.
” … Now I’m at a point where I don’t feel a thing on the ice,” Mitchell said. “Like I said, it wasn’t major pain, anyways, when I had my setback. It was more just dumping a lot of inflammation into the knee, and when the inflammation comes, then the pain comes. So I have none of that now, and because of that, it’s full speed ahead.”
Mitchell insists that “there’s no tiptoeing into this” and he considers everything “business as usual.”
As low as things seemed to dip in a totally scuttled 2013 season, the rock-solid blueliner said that it was by no means the worst he’s felt physically, noting his frightening concussion issues.
The cloudy nature of his knee problems seemed to cause some friction with outspoken GM Dean Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter, but Mitchell said that everyone’s same page again.
“I think at that point in time, maybe Dean didn’t understand the significance of what was going on, and even myself for that matter as far as the inflammation in my knee and all that,” Mitchell said. “So I think after I went in and went out and saw the doctors I did see and then having to go back and have another procedure after seeing those doctors, I think that gave him some significance to why I wasn’t able to be there and give him a little bit more understanding with that. And then, yeah, business as usual.”
If Mitchell is close to 100 percent next season, business could be awfully good.
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.