The Kings' depth on defense will be tested in their second-round playoff series against the Ducks as they go without veteran Willie Mitchell for at least Saturday night's Game 1.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter confirmed that on Saturday morning during a meeting with media an an Anaheim-area hotel. Mitchell sustained a lower-body injury in Game 6 against the Sharks and stay-at-home defenseman Matt Greene replaced him in the lineup for Game 7 at San Jose.
"Willie's not with us," Sutter said.
He made sure to clarify that point.
"Not with us," Sutter added with emphasis, meaning Mitchell was just not working out in Anaheim. "He's still with us. We felt clearly it was way better -- being this close -- that Willie stay back at our [training] facility and treat him."
Mitchell's readiness to return in the latter part of the series depends on how he responds to treatment. Forward Jeff Carter stayed off the ice on Friday but it was more of a rest issue and he will be in for Game 1 at Honda Center on Saturday evening.
Greene was supplanted in the lineup in the second half of the regular season by Alec Martinez. Greene was a minus-four in Game 2 against San Jose but was adequate enough in Game 7.
"I don't think we're going to question his effort; with Greener, his effort is going to be there all the time," Sutter said. "He'll probably do for us in this series what somebody like [Bryan] Allen does for the Ducks, when you look at it."
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