LA Kings Comeback “Kids:” Willie Mitchell and Jeff Schultz

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/

EL SEGUNDO, CA — As we move into the seventh day of the Los Angeles Kings 2013 Training Camp, only four of the team’s defensemen are guaranteed to be in the opening night lineup in a few weeks.

Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Robyn Regher, and Slava Voynov are locks to be patrolling the Kings blue line come opening night. That leaves three or four roster spots for players such as Keaton Ellerby, Alec Martinez, and Jake Muzzin to battle each other for.

Two players trying to make comebacks of sorts are also in the mix, including veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell, who is working his way back into shape after sitting out for more than a year due to two surgical procedures on his knee.

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LA Kings Defenseman Willie Mitchell: “I’m Ready To Go”

MITCHELL ON KNEE SURGERY, RETURN TO LINEUP: At the Los Angeles Kings HockeyFest ’13 event on September 8, 2013, at Staples Center, defenseman Willie Mitchell confirmed that he feels like he is ready to return to action after missing the abbreviated 2013 season due to knee surgery. Also includes audio of the media interview with Mitchell.

LA Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell spoke to the media during HockeyFest ’13 on September 8, 2013, at
Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/

LOS ANGELES — Since the news broke last week that he would be back this season after recovering from knee surgery, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell spoke to the media gathered at HockeyFest ‘13, the team’s annual season-opening celebration for their fans, held at Staples Center on September 8.

“I’m ready to go,” Mitchell declared.

Although nothing is official until Mitchell passes his physical examination on September 11, when the Kings open their 2013-14 training camp with a full day of medical exams and conditioning tests (they hit the ice on September 12), for all intents and purposes, Mitchell is back from knee surgery that sidelined him last season.

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Unless Dean Lombardi’s Middle Name Is “Houdini,” 2013-14 LA Kings Will Look At Least A Bit Different

LA Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is expected
to receive a pretty hefty raise in a
new contract this summer.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After the Los Angeles Kings won the 2012 Stanley Cup Championship, President/General Manager Dean Lombardi made good on his promise to bring back all of his players back for the 2013 National Hockey League season, giving them a solid chance to defend their championship.

One year later, the Kings advanced as far as the Western Conference Final, but only to be stopped in their tracks by the Chicago Blackhawks. But now, Lombardi is faced with that same challenge of trying to keep his team intact.

But can he? A huge obstacle in his path is the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which calls for a $64.3 million salary cap in 2013-14, considerably lower than the current $70.2 million.

“It’s unfortunate, the way this Collective Bargaining Agreement worked for us,” Lombardi lamented. “One of the by-products of going slowly was to be able to build this thing, and keep it together. We were clearly on that path, with $6 million in cap space this year, and we brought the whole team back.”

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LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi On Status Of Defenseman Willie Mitchell: “Your Guess Is As Good As Mine”

LA Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell
Photo: David Sheehan/

EL SEGUNDO CA — On June 12, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, who missed the entire 2013 season due to complications after off-season knee surgery, posted a video to (he also posted it to Twitter) that showed him skating by himself at the team’s practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center, in El Segundo, California.

The video did not specify the time and date that the video footage was taken, but Mitchell appeared to skate with no discomfort, although that means little, since he was skating solo.

Just days before, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi talked about Mitchell’s condition, stating that at this point, the injury is still career—threatening.

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Intangibles Are Now A Source Of Strength For The Los Angeles Kings

EL SEGUNDO, CA — A couple of days ago, Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown reflected back on his team’s 2012 Stanley Cup Championship, the road they traveled to reach the National Hockey League’s Promised Land, and then compared that playoff run to their current journey towards the 2013 Stanley Cup.

In LA Kings Dustin Brown Has New Perspective On Winning And Losing, he said:

“You always remember what it feels like to lose,” he said. “You almost have to lose before you learn how to win. It’s a motivating factor.”

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