Other than the obvious — tomorrow’s Game 5 — there was a lot of chatter in the Kings’ locker room today about the 25-game suspension given to Phoenix’s Raffi Torres for his hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa. Willie Mitchell, who is regularly outspoken and eloquent about the dangers of head injuries — having had a high-profile concussion himself — did he applauded the league’s decision.
MITCHELL: “First of all, I just want to say that it’s just not Raffi. It doesn’t matter who it is. If you’re a repeat offender, it’s about time they got aggressive. I give Brendan (Shanahan) and the league compliments, because they’ve done a good job in the regular season. I think, in the playoffs, they maybe got away from it early on, and they set a precedent that was tough to get away from. If you look at our series, with Cliffy [Kyle Clifford], it was kind of light. I felt it was a little bit light, in my opinion, but maybe there are more pressures this time of year. I kind of think it’s almost a five, 10, 25 thing. First offense is five, because sometimes it happens, where guys aren’t known for that style of play, so you don’t want to say 25. But maybe a five, 10, 25. I’d like to see that. Then, past that, put them out half a season. There’s no need for that in the game.
“It hurts the team, but the No. 1 person it hurts — and I’ve been through three of them — is Marian Hossa. That’s his life. His life is changed. There’s no doubt about it. It’s changed. Obviously it’s changed, where he’s not healthy and he’s in pain every day, but it’s changed from the fact that he’s much more susceptible to another one. It’s changed that maybe he might have issues for the rest of his life. It’s changed because it could affect his livelihood. Maybe he’s more susceptible and maybe a team isn’t going to take a risk on him because of that. There’s a lot of things that affect the player.’’