They have been referred to as “Mutt and Jeff”, the historic comic strip duo from the early 20th century. Sharks rookies Torrey Mitchell and Devin Setoguchi room together at home and on the road, drive to work together and hang out with each other, but the irony is it didn’t start out that way.
In fact, they barely spoke upon first meeting.
“All he did was hang out with the college guys,” said Setoguchi. “In the summer camp, he wouldn’t even talk to me. He wouldn’t give me the time of day.”
“He just walked around (strutting),” jabbed back Mitchell.
And so it goes for the tandem that is now inseparable and the subject of some locker room teasing as rookies often can be.
“They live together, they go everywhere together,” said Jeremy Roenick. “If one bends down to touch his foot, I think the other does the same.”
What they might take the most grief over is their choice of vehicles. They are not exactly driving around in a European sports car that many would envision pro athletes doing.
“The guys are busting on the Corolla?” questioned Setoguchi when asked about his economical Toyota, which is close to a teal color.
The duo brags about the best benefit provided by their current wheels.
“We haven’t filled up on gas yet,” said Setoguchi. “We’re saving money. We followed Steve Bernier the other day and kept with him.”
“I don’t know if they know they’re professional athletes,” said Roenick.
Roenick acknowledged that rookies make easy friends for each other, but didn’t let the two off the hook.
“I hung out with Jimmy Waite (a former Sharks goaltender who played for Chicago when Roenick was there) a lot, but we weren’t joined at the hip,” said Roenick.
“We’re trying to point them in the right direction,” quipped Mike Grier.
The two may take some good natured ribbing, but they are very much an important piece of the Sharks locker room, as evidenced by Roenick grabbing the two for a photo after his 500th goal.
Mitchell and Setoguchi might be the tightest pairing since Jeff Friesen and Mike Rathje were inseparable during Friesen’s rookie season and Rathje’s old, borrowed truck was their only mode of getting around town.
“I’ll be Rathje,” said Setoguchi. “Rathje’s size would be dominating.”
As for the rented Corolla the two have been driving all season, its days are numbered.
“My dad’s driving my car down,” said Setoguchi. Ownership of the car will be in Setoguchi’s favor, but Mitchell is just fine with that.
“I’ll just ride shotgun,” said Mitchell of being chauffeured around.
“I might let him drive it,” joked Setoguchi.
As for household chores in the apartment they rent, it’s rather simple.
“He cooks breakfast and we alternate supper and after dinner dishes,” said Setoguchi.
As for laundry, Setoguchi would rather take the money he saves on an extra car and buy new clothes, but there was a reprieve recently.
“His girlfriend was in town and did his laundry and mine,” said Setoguchi.
“It needed to be done,” pointed out Mitchell.
Setoguchi at least has to help with the household cleaning as Mitchell has the trump card.
“My name’s on the lease,” said Mitchell.
Joking aside, the two appreciate having each other around as they are the only two Sharks rookies dealing with the NHL pressures night in and night out. Another first year player, goaltender Dimitri Patzold is also on the roster, but has yet to play a game.
“We talked the other day about the season,” said Setoguchi.
“It’s fun having someone else going through it,” said Mitchell. “You’re in a city you don’t know NHL.”
Most players already have an infrastructure in their region, whether it’s wives, families or girlfriends.
“They have to hang around each other,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson.
Then he even had fun that their expense.
“I should put them with other people . . . who know how to dress,” said Wilson.
The two are even scheduled to do a free autograph session together at the Sharks Store on November 20.
VETERANS DAY Before tonight’s game, there will be a moment of silence in honor of all veterans who have died in the service of our country.
PHONE CALLS Cell phone coverage is shaky in the Sharks locker room at HP Pavilion, but the messages definitely came through for Jeremy Roenick after his 500th.
“I had 80 by the time I left the rink, 150 by the next day,” said Roenick of the congratulatory calls. “I made sure to respond to every one.”
NEXT GAME The Sharks will host Phoenix tonight at HP Pavilion and limited tickets are available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest can be heard on 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.