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Finally healthy, Mitchell helps guide Kings towards Cup

Jun 8, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT

Willie Mitchell Getty Images

There are several difference between the 2013 Los Angeles Kings that were unable to successfully defend the Stanley Cup and the edition that’s currently two wins away from winning its second championship in three years, but the presence of defenseman Willie Mitchell is one of the biggest changes.

Although he typically doesn’t do much offensively, Mitchell’s defensive contributions played a big role in the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup in 2012. He couldn’t help the Kings at all during the 2013 campaign and playoffs though due to a knee injury.

He was sidelined for part of the 2014 postseason as well, but he’s been a significant factor when he’s been healthy. The Kings’ 5-4 double-overtime victory on Saturday was a prime example of that as Mitchell logged 34:14 minutes while also scoring a power-play goal and registering an assist on the game-winning marker.

“Mitch, we missed him last year, him being out,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said after the victory, per LA Kings Insider. “It changed the dynamic of the back end. Where I think he makes a very big difference obviously is his defensive coverage, PK. He’s very hard to play against down low.

“You know, tonight you get an added bonus with him making a difference on the offensive side of the puck. His bread and butter is down low and PK.”

Mitchell admitted that he had difficulty even watching the Kings play in the postseason last year “because it’s like sticking a knife in you.”

Now he doesn’t have to deal with that dilemma and Los Angeles is better for it.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    The depth of this year’s Kings’ team is remarkable. While the ’70s Line lit it up in the playoffs, we’re seeing goals in The Finals from Willie Mitchell, Kyle Clifford, Dustin Brown – guys whose names haven’t normally appeared as offensive weapons this year. Justin Williams continues to be an assist machine, and is racking up points. Gaborik is setting scoring records, and the defensive team of Doughty and Muzzin at times appears to be an inpenetrable wall. Doughty’s play goes without saying; Muzzin has stepped it up big time.

    Impressive team ALL AROUND. Go, Kings!

    • patthehockeyfan - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      *impenetrable

      • blomfeld - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        and ‘indefatigable’ like no other ! :)

  2. canucks30 - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    The Canucks never should have let Willie Mitchell go.

    If they hadn’t acquired Keith Ballard in 2010, they could have kept Mitchell and still signed Dan Hamhuis and maybe things would have turned out differently in their series vs Boston where Ballard was a healthy scratch and Hamhuis went out with an injury.

  3. blomfeld - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    GO MITCHELL !

    One of the best story lines to come out of our glorious campaign of 2012 was that of Willie Mitchell. Cast aside like some piece of junk by Mike ‘Einstein’ Gillis, Mitchell came to us LA Kings and won it all, thus having the ‘last’ laugh at Gillis … and in the process proving that values & decency will ‘always’ prevail over deceit and cunning … today, tomorrow and forever ! :)

    sidebar: right now friends at my garden store, a hot moving item is ‘Sea Soil’ which I’ll have you know is manufactured and packaged in no other place than Port McNeill on Vancouver Island ! :)

    GO SEA SOIL !!!

    GO PORT MCNEILL !!!

    GO WILLIE MITCHELL !!!

    and ‘GO ELVIS’ too eh ? :)

    • colby7 - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      I think that was one of MG’s biggest mistakes. Let the local boy walk.
      Malkin destroyed him behind the net and concused him, it wasn’t his fault.

      If you are a Mitchell fan, keep an eye on Stoner in Minnesota, also a Port McNeill product.

  4. 950003cups - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Rangers attempt a comeback at “The Worlds Most Heinous Arena”

    The big question is: Can the rags come back and win this series?

    The answer is: NO

    When you whine about a goal with 18 mins left in the third, only to give up another goal seconds later, them your team is done.

    You can only lean on your goalie for so long. This will be the last time the rangers make the finals for another 20 years. Those Richards, Nash and Lundsvist contracts are gonna hamper them from keeping future players.

    They’re not a winning franchise at all. They’ll have a decent year here and there. But the days of them rattling off two cups within a few years of each other (1940 and 1994) are long gone.

    One cup in 74 years and counting. The fans deserve no more than that.

    Bunch of self entitled crybabies. Worst fans in all sports. They suck when they’re losing and they suck even worse when they win.

    Can’t wait to see a sweeeeeeep!

    LOSERS!!!!

  5. sharksfan97 - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Yes, I’m biased, but that game never should have made it to to OT. Everything, including questionable officiating, going Kings’ way. On the bright side, perhaps a 2nd Cup will end the Kings’ run as players get too expensive and others retire.

    • 22lakings22 - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      WHAA WHAA WHAA, Sharksfan97. Pitiful excuse for a hockey fan.

  6. luvusa1 - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Nice mature response lakings22 to a perfectly valid point. typical bandwagon fan who knows zero about hockey.

  7. 22lakings22 - Jun 8, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    17 year season ticket holder who has been playing for 20 years. Perhaps your comment should have been directed towards Sharksfan97, against whom the Kings made sports history, not just hockey history. Obviously that Sharks fan hasn’t done his homework, as the core of this Kings team is signed til around 2020. Anyone who can’t recognize that this Kings team has overcome adversity is NOT A HOCKEY FAN in my book. Get over yourself luvusa1. Not going to guess who you’re rooting for.

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