Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 1/24/13
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." Scoring woes 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." -Lisa Dillman
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rockies-Diamondbacks game included a broken-bat homer and the longest homer of 2017

Report: Texans wouldn’t take Jay Cutler’s calls

Albert Pujols mocks Rangers pitcher after beef

Top 10 takeaways from the 2017 NFL Draft

Mitchell Trubisky booed at Celtics-Bulls game, for some reason

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Larry Bird's sudden exit adds to uncertainty surrounding Paul George, Pacers

Nationals Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas talks trash about Bulls on court during Game 6

Jets WR Devin Smith to miss all of 2017 with torn ACL

WATCH: Seahawks use scuba diver to announce 2017 NFL Draft pick

Marshawn Lynch takes out full-page ad in newspaper to thank Seahawks fans

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker