It's (Almost) Time for Kings Hockey!
Hockey season is around the corner. For most of Los Angeles, this means nothing. For the hardcore, their sweaters are being laundered, their signs are being made, their taunts are being written, and their hopes for another Stanley Cup start to bloom.
For Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, the start of the season marks over a year of tough work and the tedium of rehabilitation.
The Kings played their second of two home preseason games against the Ducks and will conclude the exhibition season in Las Vegas this weekend for the Frozen Fury games against the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche. The Kings open the season next Thursday on the road in Minnesota and have their home opener on Monday, Oct. 7 against the Rangers.
"I'm ready to go," Mitchell told the media during the Kings Hockey Fest on Sept. 8. "I didn't want to leave anything on the table, so I committed myself to staying here all summer and working with these people, skating and doing all of that to give myself the best shot. Fortunately things are going really, really well."
Mitchell injured his knee two summers ago after the Kings won the Stanley Cup. He had a knee surgery before the lockout-shortened season began and had a second procedure to clean out debris and platelet-rich plasma treatment in April.
In the first minute of the game Willie Mitchell had the puck on his stick bringing cheers to STAPLES Center crowd. It's actually a small miracle that Mitchell is back on the ice. He played 21 minutes and had one shot, one hit and a +1 rating.
Being a preseason game, there is no reason to go into any deep analysis. The important stats: the Kings beat the Ducks 2-1; 15,179 attended the fake game; goalie Jonathan Quick looked in midseason form in the first period that saw the Kings seemingly killing of penalty after penalty.
"We wanted to cut down on the penalties," Justin Williams said. "Obviously we didn't do that."
Obviously. Quick made 14 of his 27 saves in that first period.
"He was good here tonight," head coach Darryl Sutter said.