The Colorado Avalanche Mailbag is back for another season and the players are ready to respond to fan questions. This installment features Avalanche center John Mitchell.
As always, your questions are in bold. If we feel the need to provide some additional commentary or clarification, it will come in italics before the player gives his answer.
Now, on to the Q&A:
How has it been playing and living in Colorado compared to New York or Toronto? – Jessica, Aurora, Colo.
Obviously, it’s been a little different. New York and Toronto are pretty big cities so that’s the main difference. New York is non-stop, go, go, go, and Madison Square Garden and what not. Toronto is kind of the same, but on a smaller scale. I love Denver, I love the opportunity to wake up, drive to the rink and see the mountains every day. I’m more of an outdoors kind of guy so it’s certainly nice to see.
What made you choose to sign with the Avs last summer? – Jonathan, Westfield, N.J.
I thought it was a good opportunity for me to come here, play and get minutes. It’s a great organization. My agent and I discussed the opportunities that I would have here and we figured that this would be probably the best fit for myself. Obviously it’s been a tough year for the team, but I am still glad that I came here. I signed a two-year deal so we have an opportunity next year to right the ship for sure.
What was your first thought after you took that puck to the face in the early goings of the season? – Tanner, London, Ontario
Can I see out of both of my eyes? That was the first thing that went through my head. Once I could open both of my eyes and see the blood pouring out of my head, I knew I had survived and I just needed to get off the ice as quickly as I could to get patched up.
When you guys played Columbus for the first time this year and you were hit with the puck in the face, how did you feel when you scored [later in the game]? Not even a puck to the face can stop you from scoring. – Nick, Washington
It’s tough because you take a puck in the face and I came back to play; I’m not just going to come back and try and go through the motions or whatever. I’m going to come back and try and help the team win. For me to come back and score that goal, it was such a great feeling because I felt so bad 45 minutes before that from being hit in the face by the puck. It certainly brightened my day to be able to score.
When you have any free time, what do you do to relax? – Kyla, Denver, Colo.
I like to go the park with my daughter, my wife, and my dog. Just go for a walk outside. That is one of the things that is great about the city of Denver, there are tons of parks and its sunny so many days of the year here that it is a great opportunity to be outside. I like to be outside and be in nature so I really enjoy the opportunity to get out and take my daughter to the park and stuff like that.
You've played for a couple of teams in the Eastern Conference (Maple Leafs and Rangers) before joining the Avalanche last summer. Have you noticed a different style of play in the West from the East or is it all pretty similar? What are your thoughts as well on the upcoming realignment next season? – Joey, Westminster, Colo.
The West is a little tighter checking, that’s just how it goes. The main difference from East to West is the travel. Travel out here in the West, there are three different time zones that you can be play in and you can be bouncing around all over the place.
I think realignment is good. It’s an opportunity for the league to change things up. I’m sure the fans will be interested in that. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited for the new realignment and to play different teams a little more than normal.
Do you do any mental preparation before you get on the ice before a game? – Chris, New York, N.Y.
I go through things in my head; make smart plays, make the right plays. When there is an opportunity to make a good play, to do it. But when opportunities aren’t there, you have to be smart. I try and visualize those kinds of plays and be smart with them.
Schedule and recovery wise, has this season been tougher with the team playing 48 games in 99 days compared to a normal season? – Rob, Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Yeah definitely, it’s a little bit tougher to do stuff like that just because you are play every other day. It wears on you, especially with the travel when you play a couple of games back-to-back, you don’t get to your house until 4 a.m. and then you have to play two days later. It takes a toll on you. It’s a tough schedule but everyone has to do it, so its not like we are the only ones.
Since you’ve been in Colorado, have you had a chance to get up to the mountains at all? – Linda, Frisco, Colo.
Yes, on a day off I had the opportunity to go up to Vail. It was perfect actually. You had to kind of drive through all the mountains anyways to go and see stuff. It was really cool to be able to go through the mountains. The weather changed probably five or six different times as we were driving there, from snow to rain to sunshine to mist to fog. You had just about everything. The town of Vail is really cool; I guess you don’t get the whole feeling of it if you don’t actually go skiing or snowboarding, but it was still a pretty cool place.