Mitchell vs. Toews, Sedins reunite in Canucks/Hawks battle

The last time Jonathan Toews(notes) saw Vancouver Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell(notes) on the ice ... well, it's safe to assume he didn't see all that much of him when Mitchell steamrolled him on Oct. 21. The Chicago Blackhawks captain was concussed, missed six games and the Chicago offense struggled without him.

He returned on Nov. 9; the Blackhawks haven't lost a game since then.

So they roll into Vancouver tonight to face a Canucks team that's won two in a row and gets Daniel Sedin(notes) back from injury to play on a line with brother Henrik and Alex Burrows(notes).

It's a heck of a matchup between two increasingly bitter conference rivals -- and hey, you can watch the game live via Hockey Night on Y! -- but that's taken a back seat to Toews vs. Mitchell in the pregame hype.

From the Chicago Tribune:

"I'm not looking for any retribution," Toews said. "I want to play a great game and show them something like that isn't going to change the way I play."

The Oct. 21 hit at center ice was considered clean, but it upset many of the Hawks and afterward several indicated they would remember it the next time the teams played.

Coach Joel Quenneville doesn't expect his team to respond drastically. "Our priority will be to win the hockey game and nothing else," Quenneville said. "Getting even on the scoreboard is the best way to get even."

The Canucks expect much the same, via Canwest:

"It's just hockey, it was on the ice, it was a clean hit," said Mitchell, who's spoken to Toews since the incident. "Ask Jon about it, he'll tell you that, too."

Head coach Alain Vigneault said he thought the two teams will have more pressing business Sunday night.

"At the end of the day that was just a clean hit," said Vigneault. "It was a hockey hit. There was no intent to injure on Willie's part. It was just part of the game. Our focus is going to be on two points and I think that's what their focus is going to be on."

Sure. Two points. Just win the game. Not like there's any previous bad blood between these teams, right? Should be fun.