Found January 24, 2013 on
Fox Sports West:
Los Angeles Kings
EDMONTON, Canada -- Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, the minister of bluntness, was at it again on this textbook winter day in Alberta.
With the Kings trying to avoid a 0-3 start, attention turned to the future availability of veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell. Mitchell had knee surgery during the lockout and is moving along.
Not fast enough, apparently.
"You know what, he's got doctor's clearance," Sutter said Wednesday. "He's got trainers' clearance. Coaches want him to clear himself.
"So do it."
That did not happen. Mitchell does things his way, an old-school defenseman with a new-age vibe. Reporters call it engaging. Bewildering might be another description for those trying to get him back in action.
He has made the mistake of coming back prematurely.
"I'm just trying to get my conditioning," Mitchell said after practice. "I skated really hard yesterday, really hard. Today was another good day."
"It swells up a little bit but goes back down. I think that's probably how it's going to be the rest of the year. I don't want to get out there and be a liability to my defense partner, to my teammates, to my coach. When I come back I don't want to come back, play the next couple of games and then it swells up and be out."
The absence of Mitchell and another defensive cog, Matt Greene, who will have back surgery Thursday, has meant big ice time for the likes of defenseman Drew Doughty, who played nearly 30 minutes against Colorado in the Kings' loss Tuesday.
"I would love to play 28 to 30 minutes every night if I could," Doughty said.
Said Mitchell: "I know he likes to play lots of minutes and he played great. We're going to need that from him the next little bit. But I think that catches up with teams. I don't think you can have guys logging huge amounts of minutes for long periods of time because you can end up getting run down a little bit and you can get injuries."
The most consistent offensive threat in two games has been fourth-liner Kyle Clifford, who has three points. Sutter tinkered at practice a bit, moving up Clifford on a line with center Mike Richards and forward Jeff Carter. But he indicated that Clifford has been working efficiently with center Colin Fraser so far.
Production from the left side has been a long-standing issue since Sutter arrived last season.
"Left wing for us every day since I've been here has been an ongoing thing," Sutter said. "Literally every day since December, whenever I came."
Now the Kings are waiting for the top two lines to get going but there isn't the luxury of patience in the lockout-shortened season.
"It's one of the things with the 48-game schedule," Sutter said. "It's not about what you did or you might do. It's what you're doing. That's a fact."
Sutter praised Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Colorado's Matt Duchene, who had an assist and was plus-two against the Kings on Tuesday.
"If you look at the game we played last night, Duchene kicked our two center men's butts," Sutter said. "When he had to he did."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
EDMONTON, Canada -- The first casualty of the Kings slow start turned out to be left wing Dustin Penner, a healthy scratch for Thursday nights game against the Oilers.
Kyle Clifford will be taking Penners spot on the second line with Jeff Carter and center Mike Richards, at least at the start. Penner thought this move might be serving as a wakeup call for the Stanley Cup champion...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
(Willie) Mitchell is on the mend and hopefully should be back fairly soon, although it’s not entirely clear when. And even when he does return, you have to assume he’ll need time before he's his normal self.
And (Matt) Greene is out long term, leaving the Kings scouring the trade market looking for blue-line help. I believe Kings GM...
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KINGS 1, AVALANCHE 3
Hey, Fox Sports West... is there anyway you can tell me which LA Kings player was injured
and what the injury was and when the surgery will be?
I can't quite see it.
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...he can always be a regular cast member on Mad Men.
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1. The Los Angeles Kings
Photo Credit: Gary Hershorn/REUTERS
Despite the Kings’ sluggish start to the season, I have no doubt that they will find a way to bounce back and reclaim the division. There is too much talent and consistency in LA. Suffering virtually no losses from last year’s Stanley Cup team, the Kings are in great shape to keep doing what they have been doing...