Apr 21, 2012, 7:34 PM EDT
When Willie Mitchell was looking for a contract in the summer of 2010, the red flags were obvious: his concussion issues absolutely threatened his career. Eventually the Los Angeles Kings signed him to a “risky” two-year contract and he’s been a helpful part of a great defense. With his history of head injuries, Mitchell had a lot of interesting things to say about the big Raffi Torres suspension, as he told Rich Hammond.
“First of all, I just want to say that it’s just not Raffi,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. If you’re a repeat offender, it’s about time they got aggressive. I give Brendan (Shanahan) and the league compliments, because they’ve done a good job in the regular season. I think, in the playoffs, they maybe got away from it early on, and they set a precedent that was tough to get away from.”
Mitchell believes that Byron Bitz probably deserved more than just a couple games for boarding Kyle Clifford, calling it a “five, 10, 25 thing.” Yet perhaps the most interesting material comes when Mitchell speaks from experience when it comes to how this will affect Marian Hossa – both on and off the ice.
“It hurts the team, but the No. 1 person it hurts — and I’ve been through three of them — is Marian Hossa,” Mitchell said. “That’s his life. His life is changed. There’s no doubt about it. It’s changed. Obviously it’s changed, where he’s not healthy and he’s in pain every day, but it’s changed from the fact that he’s much more susceptible to another one. It’s changed that maybe he might have issues for the rest of his life.”
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