Forced out of action in January by a concussion, Mitchell spent parts of his days in a hyperbaric chamber, receiving oxygen therapy in a tube that left him with few entertainment. options beyond watching DVDs or listening to music.
One day, Mitchell grabbed a motivational speaker’s CD that had been collecting dust in his house, one titled "The Maverick Mindset." Mitchell listened, and the timing couldn’t have been better, as it provided a framework for his eventual return to the NHL.
Game Notes: » Apr. 25, 2010: Game 6
"It's funny how it was sitting on my countertop and I never touched it," Mitchell said. "Then something like this happens to you, and it's like, `Well, I've got time to kill in this chamber, so I'm going to listen to it.' It was probably one of the best things I've ever picked up in my life, in terms of it being a life lesson but also in being an athlete like I am. A lot of it was talking about controlling the things that you can control and not worrying about all the external factors that ultimately, at the end of the day, you have no bearing over."
The message helped bring calm and clarity to Mitchell. He stopped worrying about how his teammates would fare without him, stopped stressing about his recovery and, as much as possible, stopped wondering whether he would ever play hockey again.
It has all worked out well so far, and Mitchell took a big step last week when he signed a two-year contract with the Kings. Mitchell figures to be a huge part of the Kings’ defense when they open the season on Oct. 9 against the Vancouver Canucks.
The irony isn’t lost on Mitchell, given that his last game was in a Vancouver uniform, on Jan. 16. It, and his season, ended after he was smashed head-first into the end boards by Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, and Mitchell began suffering concussion symptoms.