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.
Ben Bishop enjoyed plenty of success during the 2015-16 season and it didn’t go unnoticed. That’s why the veteran was selected to be part of Team USA for this fall’s World Cup of Hockey.
Team USA is loaded in goal, as they’ll be bringing Bishop, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick and New Jersey’s Cory Schneider. It’ll be interesting to see how the coaching staff approaches this situation heading into the tournament.
Even if Bishop doesn’t start every game for Team USA, he can still say he has a pretty cool goalie mask for the occasion.
On Saturday, Bishop took to Twitter to show off his new piece of equipment:
That’s a pretty sweet mask!
Frank Corrado should be used to waiting by now. He had to wait 28 games before the Leafs inserted him into the lineup for the first time last season and now he’s waiting for a new contract.
There’s still a gap between the two sides, but it doesn’t appear to be very significant. Corrado and the Leafs will head to arbitration on July 26th unless the two sides can agree to a new deal before then.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, The Leafs have two different offers on the table. One is a two-way contract, while the other is a one-way deal that would see him make less money if he sticks in the NHL. Corrado is looking for a one-way deal worth $900,000.
Toronto scooped Corrado up off waivers from the Canucks prior to the start of the 2015-16 season. Despite waiting a while to actually hit the ice as a Leaf, Corrado finished the season with one goal, six points and a minus-12 rating in 39 games. He averaged 14:27 of ice time.
Splitting the difference would result in Corrado making roughly $737,500 next season.
The Maple Leafs are also scheduled to go to arbitration with forward Peter Holland (July 25) and defeseman Martin Marincin (Aug. 2).
After a few early exits from the Stanley Cup playoffs, the St. Louis Blues were finally able to make a long run. Granted, they didn’t win the Stanley Cup or make it to the final, but they did manage to reach the Western Conference Final.
Unfortunately for the Blues (and a lot of other teams), the NHL’s salary cap number didn’t increase very much and it forced the organization to part ways with a number of key veterans. Gone are captain David Backes, winger Troy Brouwer and goalie Brian Elliott.
There could be even more change between now and the start of the year, as Kevin Shattenkirk could find himself elsewhere.
Those key departures mean that the Blues will need some of their younger players to step up and take on more of a leadership role starting this fall. How will the team respond? Nobody knows, not even GM Doug Armstrong.
“It’s going to be an interesting case study on how quickly this group takes up the leadership,” Armstrong said, per the Boston Globe. “Can they do it in September? Or does it take them a year? There’s certainly a faith that over time, they’re going to pick it up without any issue. Obviously you want them to pick it up as quickly as possible. We don’t want to take any backwards movement in our organization. But sometimes you do expose yourself to maybe taking half a step back to take a couple steps forward.”
Young leaders like Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz and Alex Pietrangelo will need to “step up” in the leadership department, but the Blues aren’t completely out of veterans. Jay Bouwmeester, Paul Stastny and Alex Steen are all still on the roster. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if the Blues take that “half step back” that Armstrong was talking about.
—Jake Allen still needs to prove he’s a ‘legit’ number one goalie
—Blues sign Schwartz to five-year deal
—Backes doesn’t want to ‘sling mud’ at Blues on his way out
Since coming to the NHL as an 18-year-old in 2008, Luke Schenn has had the opportunity to play in Toronto, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Playing in cities that love hockey is great, but it also comes with a certain amount of pressure.
Schenn, who is a former fifth overall pick, hasn’t lived up to his lofty draft status and when you underachieve in Toronto and Philadelphia, the fans and media make sure you know it.
On Saturday, Schenn signed a two-year deal in Arizona, which is a non-traditional hockey market. It sounds like it may have been done by design.
“I’m looking forward to coming to a market where I can just worry about playing hockey and not outside added pressure, and hopefully growing with the team,” Schenn said of signing with the Coyotes, per the team’s website. “I know they have a lot of upside and I still feel like I’ve hopefully got some upside, too. (I’m) still at a good age where I can continue to grow with them and evolve.”
The Coyotes have Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Goligoski who are more than capable of moving the puck up the ice and players like Schenn and Zbynek Michalek will be counted on to provide some defensive stability.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can shoot the puck and move the puck well and (who’ve) got a good offensive instinct for the game, so I just want to try to play solid defensively and help out in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill and play physical,” added Schenn. “Obviously, the way the game is now there’s a lot of skating so you’ve definitely got to pick your spots to be physical, but I still think there’s definitely still a need for that.”
Arizona still needs to work out deals with restricted free agents Michael Stone and Connor Murphy. Even if both players return next season, Schenn should still have a role as a four, five or six defenseman with the ‘Yotes.