LA Kings Defenseman Willie Mitchell Warns Against Overconfidence

Los Angeles Kings veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell knows his
former team, the Vancouver Canucks, all too well.
Photo: David Sheehan
EL SEGUNDO, CA — Despite their underdog status going into their first round playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks, the Los Angeles Kings, lead the series, 1-0, after winning Game 1 on April 11, 4-2, in Vancouver.

The Kings went into the series saying all the right things about not being concerned about being the underdog, and expressing confidence that they could get the job done against the heavily favored Canucks.

Of course, the Kings were heavy underdogs two seasons ago, when they faced the Canucks in the first round, and it was the same thing against the San Jose Sharks in the first round last season.

Prior to each of those series, one heard similar refrains in the Kings dressing room, that being the underdog did not matter to them, and that they believed they could advance to the second round.

Despite the similarities, things are different this year, even though the words are pretty much the same.

The difference is that their confidence is higher, and for good reason: this team, unlike the previous two post-seasons, has a real, solid chance to advance to the second round…

…and they know it.

The Kings’ chances for success got even better prior to Game 1, when they learned that Canucks star forward Daniel Sedin, who has been out of the lineup with a concussion since March 21, suffered a setback after practicing with the team on April 9. He did not play in Game 1, and did not practice on April 12. As such, he is not expected to play in Game 2, and there are now serious questions about whether or not he will be available at any time in the series.

Without a doubt, the loss of Sedin is a huge blow to the Canucks. Playing on a line with his brother, Henrik, they often skate circles around the opposition.

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell talked about what the Canucks are missing.

“They don’t have big shots, they’re not going to score by screaming down the wall,” said Mitchell, who played with the Sedin twins in Vancouver before signing with the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on August 25, 2010. “They’re not going to do any of that stuff. They’re going to score in front of the net. Once they beat you, they’re going to beat you again. They’re going to beat you twice before it goes in the back of the net. That’s how they play.”

Indeed, the two are so dangerous, that if defensemen play them aggressively, they usually get burned.

“Once a pass beats you, you don’t want to turn to go where the pass [went],” Mitchell noted. “You actually want to hold where you were, because the puck is going to go back there. [They’re] aggressive off the start, so deny them the puck, because once they get the puck, you’ve got to be fairly passive on the guy who has the puck, because all he’s trying to do is bring you in towards him, [so he can] put the puck into the open ice where you were, while the other brother is skating into it, and getting a good shot on goal.”

“[You want to] deny them the puck, at first, play [physical] against them, and don’t allow them to create that two-on-one [situation],” Mitchell added.

After all that, one cannot help but think that the Kings have been extremely fortunate that they only have one of the Sedin twins to worry about, for the time being, anyway.

Despite that, Mitchell warned that the Canucks are still a formidable team.

“[Sedin’s status is] a double-edged sword,” he said. “If he’s in the lineup, that’s great for them, because he’s such a good player, and he works so well with Henrik]. If he isn’t in the lineup, it’s a source of inspiration for them because everyone will think, ‘we’ve got to pull our socks up that much higher.’ You have a dangerous team, either way.”

The Kings would do well not to get too confident with just a 1-0 series lead.

Related Videos

2012 Western Conference Quarterfinal, Los Angeles Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 1 Highlights, April 11, 2012

Used with permission. All videos provided by KingsVision at, or require Adobe Flash Player. As such, they are not viewable on iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).


Tickets for the Kings’ upcoming home playoff games against the Vancouver Canucks (April 15, 2012, 7:30 PM – Canucks vs. Kings: Game 3; April 18, 2012, 7:00 PM – Canucks vs. Kings: Game 4; April 24, 2012, TBA – Canucks vs. Kings: Game 6 {if necessary}), are available from Barry’s Tickets, an official partner of the Los Angeles Kings. Use the code, “Royalty010” to get a 10 percent discount on their “Best Value” tickets.

Creative Commons License Frozen Royalty by Gann Matsuda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Frozen Royalty – Licensing and Copyright Information.

Frozen Royalty’s Comment Policies


3 thoughts on “LA Kings Defenseman Willie Mitchell Warns Against Overconfidence

Add yours

  1. all the more reason why we need to take game 2 also. It can and shall be done. Then what will the excuses be?

Please post your comment on this story below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: