April 22, 2012; Vancouver, BC, CANADA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell (33) during the second period against the Vancouver Canucks of game five of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell's Status Remains Uncertain

Given the way their defense has played in the last few games, the Los Angeles Kings may not be desperate to have defenseman Willie Mitchell in the lineup but given how crucial he’s been to their defensive unit since arriving in time for the 2010-11 season, having Number 33 back would only bolster the Kings’ defensive attack.

There is a silver lining to Mitchell’s absence as blueliners like Rob Scuderi and Alec Martinez have really turned their defensive games up a notch. Even after discovering that Matt Greenewould be lost for at least the next two months, the Kings have persevered despite early skepticism that they would be worse off without him.

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As for Mitchell, his situation hasn’t been an easy one to follow. Earlier this week, it was said that he had been cleared by doctors to return to the lineup but Mitchell, having a history of returning prematurely from injury, is playing it safe despite being given the green light. Now, however, according to head coach Darryl Sutter, Mitchell was on the ice yesterday during practice but did say that the veteran has not experienced any setbacks from his off-season knee surgery.

To put it simply: the sooner the Kings have Willie Mitchell back in the lineup, the better. With that said, though, Los Angeles’ healthy defensemen are filling the void left by Mitchell (and Greene) admirably, doing their best not to overwork their goaltender in the process.

While Kings fans want Willie Mitchell back in the lineup as soon as possible, they can take plenty of solace knowing that the 35-year-old knows his body well enough to determine when the right time to return is. After all, what good would it be if Mitchell returns and reinjures himself just as quickly?

The Kings are looking good these days as tonight they are in search of their third-straight win to close out January and hoping they won’t have to wait too long for Mitchell to come back. In the meantime, the Los Angeles Kings are set to keep going with the status quo and hoping their veteran defenseman rests up and takes all the time he needs because a Willie Mitchell is 100% is, well, the best version of Willie Mitchell anyone can ask for.

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