The injury bug has officially hit the Los Angeles Kings, right at the peak of the Western Conference standings, as both Alexei Ponikarovsky and Willie Mitchell have suffered broken bones and face not being in the line-up for at least a month. Ponikarovsky suffered a broken finger, which will keep him out of the line-up for up to four weeks, while Mitchell suffered a broken wrist and he will be out of the line-up for 4-to-6 weeks.
Since the Kings have been putting wins up on the board, the focus has not been on any lack of production early on in the season, which is seemingly why Ponikarovsky has flown somewhat under the radar with only 4 points in 13 games. Ponikarovsky was jokingly the 'runner-up prize' in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes and has definitely scored like it as well. This injury setback likely won't help him find his rhythm with the club, but maybe watching from above the ice will give him a better perspective on how the team plays and he can find a way to adjust.
Mitchell has been quite the positive addition to the Kings line-up in the 2011 season, but it's a real shame that he won't be able to continue that good roll he was on for at least a month. Mitchell opened up the year with 1 goal and 4 assists in the first 13 games of the season and has been playing just over 20 minutes a night with a +7 rating. That extra little bit of stability has helped the team in many key facets of the game and he will be sorely missed from their line-up.
In the draft, only Ponikarovsky was taken in the first 14 rounds, taken in the 11th round (206th overall) by Chris, who has also not really noticed his lack of production, due to the fact he is in 3rd place in the standings after Monday night's action. The loss of Ponikarovsky for a month may seal his fate as a waiver draft deletion, unless the Kings become hot upon his return and it would be hard to take someone out of their draft team, who plays on a potent offense like the Kings. Only a thought.
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