Los Angeles Kings’ Willie Mitchell is excited to be playing in this years Stanley Cup after missing out on the entire season last year after undergoing two knee surgeries.
Mitchell was on the ice for 34:14 of Game 2 against the New York Rangers on Saturday night during the 5-4 overtime win. It marked the most time he’s played since before his knee injury.
Mitchell’s teammate Dustin Brown said the team is happy to have him back:
“We missed him last year, him being out,” Brown said. “It changed the dynamic of the back end. Where I think he makes a very big difference, obviously, is his defensive coverage. He’s very hard to play against down low. You know, Saturday 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.”
History almost repeated itself when Mitchell had to miss eight games in the post season due to a muscle pull. He sat out during the final game against the Anaheim Ducks, something that ate away at him while he missed games.
“Oh yeah, I was watching this year,” Mitchell said. “I was praying the guys could win a Game 7 and give me a chance to get back after my muscle pull.”
Mitchell rehabbed with Dr. John Meyer. He stayed in constant contact with Dr. Meyer and worked hard through the summer to become healthy. “It is nice to be back and be part of this and enjoying it,” Mitchell said.
The Kings currently lead the series 2-0 over the Rangers. Game 3 is on Monday.