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.