Willie Mitchell has been a strong, intelligent voice in regard to issues involving concussions in the NHL, and Mitchell speaks from experience. He missed half of last season, while playing for Vancouver, because of a serious concussion, and spent approximately six months off the ice before he was able to start skating in the summer and return with the Kings this season. Mitchell was an early adopter of the M11 helmet, that is touted as helping protect NHL players from concussions. So, in that vein, Mitchell gave some interesting comments to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun yesterday, regarding the one-game suspension given to teammate Jarret Stoll for his hit on San Jose’s Ian White. The quote is below, and can be found in this story.
“I believe you can’t preach stuff and when it’s not in your favor or best interest change your tune on it,” Mitchell told ESPN.com. “I know Jarret as a person, he’s a good guy and that’s the thing in this game, people are going to get suspended even when their intentions aren’t to hurt someone. That just comes with competing hard, and we accept that as players. Suspensions are the things that will deter us in the moment to not do those things. … To be honest with you, I think the league has done an excellent job in the second half of the season coming down with harder suspensions on it. You ask all the guys getting injuries from it, they’re happy about it. No one wants to see their peers hurt from head injuries.”