Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 1/24/13

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 21: Willie Mitchell of the Los Angeles Kings skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on October 21, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Kings 4-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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

Twitter, Facebook report engagement decline during Super Bowl

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Daniel Bryan says goodbye to WWE during teary retirement speech

Paul George delivers great line about driving by Kobe Bryant

WATCH: Oklahoma beats Texas on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

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

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

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