Willie Mitchell on Vancouver’s Tendency to ‘Come Unglued’

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell has a unique perspective on the Vancouver Canucks. Not only was a member of the team for the last four years, but he also spent the second half of last season observing things off the ice while recovering from a concussion.

As any player will tell you, hockey can be a much different game from the sidelines than it is from the bench or on the ice.

So, what does he think about the his old club as the Kings prepare to face them later tonight? Well, it’s really a two-part answer…

MM: First off, any thoughts about facing your old team?

WM:  It’s always fun to play against friends and always fun to play against the best team in the league. It doesn’t surprise me one bit. Obviously, I was there last year and it’s the majority of the same players. It was a team that was on the cusp and now they’re coming into their own. It’s going to be a real, real big challenge for us. They play really well at home and have been playing great hockey. So, they have confidence. Those are the teams you want to play against. Those are the teams you want to see how you match-up, it motivates you. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

MM: When you say you’re not surprised by their record, is there anything that’s different about this Canucks team compared to the one you were part of last season?

WM: They’re a very similar team. I think they’re getting some really solid back-up goaltending as well. That’s helped them out a lot, Cory Schneider‘s play. Overall, you’re seeing the team mature a little bit. Not that it was young, but guys that were like 24, 25 years old are starting to come into their own. (Ryan) Kesler is playing a much more complete game. I was there two years and we talked about it all the time, the need to play more composed as a hockey team. There are a few guys on that team that liked to get in the middle of stuff – whether it’s Alex Burrows, Kesler, even Kevin Bieksa. I think a lot of those guys have matured and understand it’s not about all the extracurricular activity. It’s about winning hockey games. I think a lot of times, when I was there, they would come unglued a little bit. As a team, we’d start to get worried about the distractions, instead of just playing the game. A lot of those guys are really good talents, but they’d also get involved in that stuff and waste their energy on it. I think you’re seeing them mature and realize that if they stay away from that stuff, they have the talent to be one of the best hockey teams in the league. And this year, showing they’re the best hockey team in the league. So, they’re staring to mature that way and realize that much needed discipline and focus is what’s going to take them to the next level.

NOTE: earlier today Dustin Brown and Michal Handzus weighed in with their thoughts on the game – check out the article here.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/MayorNHL
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

RELATED ARTICLES:

Welcome to LA – 10 Tidbits on Willie Mitchell

Mitchell Still Not Sure What Went Wrong

Coach Terry Murray Grades Mitchell’s Play This Season

Shop for Los Angeles Kings Gear at Shop.NHLcom!Shop.NHL.com

Recent Articles

College FA Spencer Foo on the Process of Selecting His NHL Team

In an off-season of promised change, the LA Kings have already made several announcements supporting their claims. From a new General Manager to a new head coach, the organization is under a bit of a remodel at the moment. One thing remaining constant, though, is the team’s commitment to developing young players. For more than […]

NHL Radio Replay: Hoven Reacts to Kings Hiring Stevens and Future Plans

Follow @mayorNHL
//
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on NHL Network Radio, where he joined host Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon to discuss everything that went down at the LA Kings press conference for new head coach John Stevens. They break down what was learned and what’s next with the team, both on and off the […]

Rob Blake on How and Why John Stevens Was Promoted

Following today’s LA Kings press conference to announce John Stevens as the team’s new head coach, General Manager Rob Blake shared a plethora of additional insight into how and why the promotion occurred:
Blake on finding a head coach right away:
“Well, I think I’ve experienced it first hand, which goes a long way. Also, the experience […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2017 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings: Top Two Players Revealed

The wait is over; it's time to reveal the top two players on our 2017 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings. Which player has earned the coveted No. 1 spot? As we finish off this multi-part series, we'll begin with a thank you … [Read More...]

More Prospect News