For the first time since mid-January, Willie Mitchell takes the ice at Rogers Arena Saturday as he makes his return to Vancouver as a Los Angeles King after signing with them as a free agent this summer.
"It's kind of ironic that my first game is against my old team and teammates, friends, peers and a city that's been home for me so that's kind of nice too," said Mitchell following the morning skate. "A lot of the people who have been there for me throughout the journey are going to be around so it'll be a lot of fun."
Mitchell missed the last half of the season and the post-season after suffering a concussion on January 16 in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"The first exhibition game snuck up on me, getting used to new surroundings and a new place, just trying to get ready and doing all the things you need to do and then realize, this is real. Being off for so long, it's only human nature to [be nervous]... I was nervous, I didn't play that well."
In four seasons with the Canucks, Mitchell registered 58 (10-48-58) points in 264 games.
Mitchell will sport the number 33 tonight as he puts on the purple and gold - a change from the familiar number 8 he had as a Canuck. This number isn't arbitrary or a nod towards who he thinks should be Vancouver's next captain but for four reasons:
1. He caught a big fish on boat #33 at the Fishing for Kids event.
2. He is 33 years old right now.
3. His friend, Justin Morneau wears the same number.
4. In numerology, three plus three equals six, which stands for good health.