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"I’ve got a big part of my life back," Mitchell proclaimed to Iain MacIntyre from The Province from Minnesota, where he and his family spend most of their summers. "I have no uncertainty; I want to play hockey. It took a little longer than I expected (to recover), but I’m looking forward to next season. I’m really excited. I feel normal again."
Mitchell said that the post concussions symptoms disappeared about 2 and a half weeks ago and that he has begun the strenuous training required to make it back into the NHL for the 2010-11 season. Mitchell said he received a lot of support from fans during the dark times and that he wants to play for the Canucks and even finish his career here. But that is where the "problems" start..
(More after the poll and jump.)
Mike Gillis and Mitchell met last week and Willie called the meeting "encouraging." But Gillis wants to make sure that Mitchell is 100% before any commital takes place. He wants Mitchell to go through rigorous testing, which ManIntyre says naturally begins on the ice. But Mitchell isn't planning on skating again until he returns to Vancouver mid-July. Mid-July? Well that is 2 weeks after free agency season opens. Timing issue.
Is Mitchell in the Canucks' plans? Gillis said in the article: "If there is a deal available to do, for sure we’d like him back. There are multiple things you can do (contractually)." That is most likely referring to a lower base-rate salary with bonuses tacked on if Mitchell can stay healthy for an entire season. Or: a multi-year deal with a descending contract as the years go on so that the average yearly cap hit is less. Or both. You can't blame Gillis for be cautious.
But come July 1, if there is not enough commitment to Willie Mitchell from the Canucks I honestly believe somebody else is is quickly going to step up and show him some money, concussions or not. There is no denying his shut-down abilities. I really hope a deal can be reached. It's tough to figure which way Mike Gillis is going to go this summer. If he lands a top 2 defenceman and pays around $5 million for him, the pressure for Mitchell to accept less dollars becomes so much greater. Personally, I'd be taking a long hard look at Mitchell and trying to keep him here. In my fantasy world he does re-sign here, remains healthy and management gives him the captaincy. Oops, did I say that out loud?
How about you?