The Kings will be without both Willie Mitchell and Alexei Ponikarovsky for at least a month.
Obviously this is not good news for the Kings. Mitchell is a big minute muncher and defensive stalwart. Poni is a part of the Kings big shutdown line. Jake Muzzin has been recalled, but defensive pairings have yet to be solidified. It’s unlikely the Kings will break up the second line that has been so good so far this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brad Richardson placed on the left side of Handzus.
Maybe something like this for the next month:
Parse – Kopitar – Brown
Smyth – Stoll – Williams
Richardson – Handzus – Simmonds
Clifford – Lewis – Westgarth
Scuderi – Doughty
Johnson – Drewiske
Muzzin – Greene
Here are the details from TSN.ca:
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings will be without defenceman Willie Mitchell and left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky for at least a month due to injuries, dealing a significant blow to the Western Conference leaders’ veteran depth.
Mitchell will be out four-to-six weeks with a broken left wrist, while Ponikarovsky will miss at least four weeks with a broken finger, the Kings announced Monday. Neither player will need surgery.
Both Kings newcomers were injured during Saturday’s win over Nashville, which boosted Los Angeles’ record to 10-3-0 during the club’s best start in 30 years.
Mitchell and Ponikarovsky are in their first season in Los Angeles after signing as free agents in the off-season. Mitchell spent the past three seasons with Vancouver, while Ponikarovsky was with Pittsburgh and Toronto last year.
Mitchell has one goal, four assists and a plus-7 rating while playing in the Kings’ top defensive pairing with Drew Doughty, who only returned last week from a six-game absence with an apparent concussion.
The Kings are off until Thursday, when they host Dallas.
The Kings return to action on Thursday at 7:30 pm PT against Dallas. The Kings won their first meeting of the year in Dallas by a score of 5-2.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney