When unrestricted free agent Willie Mitchell(notes) broke a pane ofglass behind one of the goals at the University of British Columbia's Thunderbird Sports Centre during an informal skate on Monday, it was another opportunity to show that he's healthy after suffering a concussion last January against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In May, Mitchell last spoke to the media where he sounded off on the NHL and Colin Campbell regarding headshots and player discipline. Four months later, Mitchell was all smiles as he talked about his return to the ice and his immediate future as a free agent.
From the Vancouver Province:
"I have been skating since early July, that is really, really early for me. It's a month early and I feel good out here. I feel a lot more ready than I usually do at this time of year. I still have some hurdles to do and that's obviously to get out and play a game because it's been a while, but I am really looking forward to it."
"They all know my health is good, now it's just a matter of working out the details on something," Mitchell said.
Mitchell said it was his choice to not rush to sign a new deal once July 1st to be fair to his suitors and to make sure he was healthy. Since the injury, Mitchell has kept a positive mind to help aid in his recovery as he told Canucks.com:
"Maybe the odd time. You ask any player who has gone through a severe injury, you have that thought and that's part of the learning process within it. If you think that way, you're not going to get healthy, I believe in the power of mind and feeling good and knowing that things around to get better and they will get better. Like I said, worry about what ifs really slows you down, it slows you down in life period and that's what I've learned about this. It's been a really good learning experience."
It's believed that Mitchell's choices have been narrowed down to San Jose, Washington, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. The Canucks currently sit almost $3 million over the salary according to CapGeek, meaning if a bidding war takes place, it's likely Mitchell will be moving on.