OTTAWA - Torrey Mitchell felt just fine at practice less than 24 hours after taking both a puck to the face and a knee to the head in the season-opener in Buffalo.
The 31-year-old Greenfield Park native was on the ice with the rest of his teammates on Friday afternoon at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa preparing for Saturday night's tilt against the Senators to wrap up the current two-game road trip.
Mitchell says he wasn't feeling any ill effects at all from either incident in the Canadiens' 4-1 triumph in Western New York. It marked the third time in the last several weeks that the Canadiens' No. 17 experienced an injury scare, of sorts. Back on October 1 in Ottawa, Mitchell took an errant stick to the face in a preseason tilt and was forced to leave the game after seeing just 3:40 of playing time.
Video: Torrey Mitchell on the speed of his line
With 529 games of NHL experience under his belt, though, Mitchell knows that incidents like these simply come with the territory. Fortunately, everything worked out for the best this time around, too.
"Those things happen, but it's just unfortunate. This morning I was feeling good, so I just keep on going," shared the now 10-year NHL veteran, who logged just over 11 minutes of ice time on Thursday night. "You always worry about [injuries], but that's why there are protocols on hand. I went through all the testing stuff and I feel good. I felt good almost right after it happened. It's good we have those protocols [in place]."
Those particular incidents aside, Mitchell did manage to light the lamp early in the second period on Thursday night, capitalizing on a loose puck in front of Sabres netminder Robin Lehner to score what proved to be the game-winner. That goal was a byproduct of linemate Paul Byron's strong rush to the net, with Mitchell pouncing on the rebound to net his first of the year and put the Canadiens ahead for good. The University of Vermont standout simply can't say enough good things about the way he, Byron and fellow speedster Phillip Danault have clicked since combining forces in mid-September.
"We had a good camp together. We've been together since day one of training camp, me, [Phillip Danault] and Pauly, and I think we've done a good enough job to have Michel [Therrien] trust in us. We just need to keep going," praised Mitchell, referencing the work the trio managed to put in during exhibition play and carried over into the start of the regular season. "The game has changed and there are some pretty good skilled players on those bottom lines [around the League]. Hopefully, we can go in that direction."
Video: MTL@BUF: Mitchell finishes rush with rebound goal
The Canadiens' bench boss certainly thinks that they're trending that way and he believes that they can continue to be a real force as the season marches on.
"They've got speed. They play the right way, those guys. That's why I'm confident when they play against top players that they're going to do the right things," mentioned Therrien, clearly pleased with the effort Byron, Mitchell and Danault have put in so far. "They're tough to play against with their speed."
And, at the heart of that line, according to Therrien, is Mitchell and the countless positive attributes he brings to the table for the Canadiens game in and game out.
"A guy like Mitchy, as far as I'm concerned, he's a real pro. He's all business. He's got a lot of respect from his teammates and the coaching staff because he's doing a lot of good things. For me, he's part of our leadership group and he has an important role to make sure our guys stick to the plan," concluded Therrien. "He's a guy with experience, a warrior in his own way. He plays the right way."