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Chatting With Willie - Part 4

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
With six weeks left before training camp, Willie Mitchell continues to check in with Rick Ball on the Team 1040.

It's time to enjoy what the summer has to offer and even time for some serious talk about baseball.  What's Willie going to do before the season starts up again? 

Listen to the whole interview.

Where do you take people who come to visit you in Vancouver?

Well, I've got two staples. The Grouse Grind is definitely one - you hike up there and have cocktail and relax on a sunny day. I guess that's number one.

My wife and I love Granville Island. We like going over there and taking the foot passenger ferry and going there just to grab lunch in the market outside. I think those are the two staples for us when people are coming here from out of town. The market is just exceptional, you get everything you want and the atmosphere.

What's your best time on the grind?

To be honest with you, I have not done it really but I've done it twice. The first time I walked it with my wife and we walked it in 50 minutes. The second time I started walking with her and my competitive nature took over and so for the last three-quarters, I kind of gave it a little more. I think I was around 40 minutes.

I'd like to do it more and I haven't really done it this year but I figure I can get my time around 35 minutes or somewhere around there.

Who's the cardio vascular leader, who's the fittest guy on the team?

I think Hank or Daniel Sedin. I think both of them used to do it a lot. I think they were somewhere around 33-34 minutes, something like that.

Playing against them, I was on Minnesota playing against them and obviously they got stronger as they went on - that was kind of their knock is that they're not strong enough but that's far from the case, those guys are in incredible shape. Strength wise, for their body-style, they're not very big but strength is very good.

They're not super bulky but they have that core strength.

 Who's the strongest guy on the team?

Who do you think? (laughs)

In a bench press contest, who would win?

 Bench press? I don't do that stuff, it's over-rated. Hockey players only train about 3-4 months of the year as far as physically lifting weights - it's all lower body, it's not upper body.

But that's one of thing I was most impressed with the team. The dedication that the guys take to get themselves to the gym and get prepared physically, the Canucks are a team that have a leg-up. I think a lot of that has to do with the lifestyle and the culture. If you don't stay up on things, there's a lot of people in the city who might be in better shape than you and you're supposed to be a professional athlete so a lot of the guys are in tremendous shape.

Have you done your bike ride yet with Trevor [Linden]?

No, I haven't. I don't know if he's back yet, I haven't spoken to him. I should give him a call but I know he went over doing the Trans-Alps overseas and he was training like a wild man so hopefully he's done well.

Do you think he'll be back next season?

I have no idea. That's for him,management, coaches to play it out. When you get older like that, there are decisions to be made. Trevor's always contributed and he's done that in the post-season. I think he'd be a solid guy to bring back and you've seen it last year in the post-season.

He's always had it in his career, he's found a way to raise his level of play in the big games and that's what it's all about those big games. I'd like to see him back but that's a decision he has to make, the team has to make and we'll see how that plays out.

What are the next six weeks like for you leading up to training camp?

 It's not a lot of fun, I guess. All the trips are done and pretty much now is just train, train, train and getting geared up. I'm trying to get the body in shape as much as possible and leave no excuses as far as your performance. I think this year I might start skating sooner than I have in the past.

Physically, I've felt that I've have slower starts and it takes me a while to find my groove so I want to skate a little earlier to find that groove and get going right off the hop. With the games at the end of the year last year how important they are, it just shows that as a team you can get off to a great start, you're going to put yourself in good position in the home stretch into the post-season.

Sometimes if you're well prepared, I think that's where we're ahead of the curve is, I'd like to think, that we're very well conditioned. If you can catch those teams early in the season when they're still trying to get their team going, get in shape and work out all the kinks, you can maybe get a couple of extra wins early in the season that could pay big dividends in the stretch.

You had a couple of injuries last year, how are those affecting you now?

 Well, injuries are injuries, and I'd like to think if you play hard, you're going to get an injury or two and if you're not playing hard then you won't get injuries. This year, I've been spending some extra time with the guys trying to get the body mechanics down. Basically a lot of core work and a lot of groin work and hopefully stay away from that.

Last year was the first year I've really had a groin pull and I don't know that reason behind it, I don't think you ever really know but I did a lot of bike work last year and I wasn't a big fan of that.

I've gotten back to a lot of the weight-bearing stuff, a lot more of the running and a lot more strength training, where it's all weight-bearing and cardio. We'll see how it does this season.

Are you a baseball fan?

One of my buddies is a baseball player so of course I am. I'm a casual baseball fan especially with a friend who plays baseball and my wife being from the Twin cities and playing there but I can't convert now because there's no major league baseball here.

Who's your buddy?

Justin Morneau. We're actually going to head down in a couple of weeks and watch in Seattle. I think he's down there around the middle of August.

Listen to the whole interview.

121 - Blocked shots in 2006-07

22:12 - Avgerage time on Ice per game last season

3 - Points (1 goal, 2 assists) vs. Minnesota

Player Bio
Chatting With Willie - Part 3
Chatting With Willie - Part 2
Chatting With Willie - Part 1


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