|Everyone wants to know about the new guy in town. Willie Mitchell's defense-first attitude has earned him respect throughout the NHL and his gritty approach should fit in perfectly with the Canucks. The outgoing Port McNeill native talks about what you want to know.
What are your impressions of Vancouver and being able to come back home to BC to play for the Canucks? (Alison, Burnaby; Paola Franco, Richmond; Vikrant Vashisht; Shaolin Rahman, Richmond; Jacob Wynja; Brooklyn Day)
I love it. The weather's been fabulous, we've been very lucky so far but for October, the weather we're having. Vancouver's a very multicultural city, it's very pedestrian friendly, it's a very athletic city, and those are things that I really enjoy. The outdoors and there are some good culinary places, lots of places to go eat. I love it, I've been having a blast.
What are your favourite places to go eat? (Erwin H., Burnaby)
There's a few, I'm just starting, I haven't had a lot of time but I'm just starting to a few places. I'm a big fan of Blue Water Grill and I'm not sure how to say it but I've been there once and it was fabulous, Cioppino's, an Italian place down in Yaletown. Those are kind of the two staples so far for me but I'm going to try lots more.
With all the changes you went through this summer, how do you make time for your new bride? (Nancy Blenkin, Victoria)
There hasn't been a lot of time. No honeymoon for us. Our honeymoon was getting into Vancouver, buying a place and trying to get squared away for the season and we're still not squared away but we're getting there.
Something we both like to do is, we like to go out, have some nice dinners and relax with a nice bottle of wine. It's kind of our gig so we spend a lot of time doing that so far and checking out the sites. We're all about experiences and just grabbing a foot passenger ferry and going over to Granville Island for the day just to relax and hang out there. Or going over to Stanley Park and hanging out there, we like all that stuff so we've been enjoying the city.
Does the fan attention differ here, if at all, form that in Minnesota? (Shelley, Harrison Hot Springs)
Yes, its has. Minnesota has a very passionate hockey market, very similar to Vancouver, obviously the dial's turned up. Canada is hockey and with it being the only major sport, so to speak, of the big four sports, the NHL in Vancouver is under the limelight a little more versus Minnesota. The Twins' are playing some post-season ball now, the Vikings, the Timberwolves with Kevin Garnett, the media attention was little less and around the city, you can get around a little easier than you can here.
In Minnesota, you were always number 2, why did you choose the number 8 in Vancouver? (Ashley Jukich)
Mattias has obviously played here a long time and I couldn't buy him out, I tried. I'm kidding. I really liked number 2 but to be honest there's not a lot of choices as far as numbers that really just kind of came to me. Daniel has 22, but number 8, I was a big Cam Neely fan. I loved his style of play, I just really liked his intensity and his all around game as a kid growing up so I wore that number as a kid growing up and didn't wear it in pro. I wore 2 my whole pro career, since 2 was not available, I went back to an old number.
What was your greatest moment when you played with the North Island Eagles? (Colin Prasad, Port Hardy)
We were provincial champs a couple years in a row with peewee, that was a big deal. We compete pretty well against the triple A teams but provincial champs for three small towns, it was Port McNeill, Port Hardy, and Port Alice that made up the North Island Eagles, to be provincial champs was a big thrill for a young kid. I would've been in the 13-14 age group.
Who do you get along with best on the team? (Jag Jaswal)
I'm still new to the team and I did come here early and have been around the guys for a couple months now. I guess me and Brendan Morrison like spending time away from the rink, unwinding, fishing, speaking of that, I'm going right now, so I think we get along fairly well. We share the same passion there but otherwise I'm just trying to get a feel for everyone and I think that as things progress you'll start to have better relationships with your teammates.
If you had a pool of jello, would you be able to swim in it or would you sink? (Kent MacDonald)
Sink, for sure! I'm not a swimmer, I've never been a good swimmer, I just sink. I'll be sinking in the jello, maybe I'll eat it all.
Who do you predict will be in the Stanley Cup finals? (James, Sidney, BC)
Vancouver Canucks in the West and in the East, this year. In the East, I'd love it to be Carolina again. My best friend plays in Carolina and it'd be nothing sweeter than to play him in the Stanley Cup final and beat him, especially since he's already won a cup. But, I like Carolina's chances again, I think they've got good depth up front and if their goaltender plays as well as he did last year, I can see them coming out of the East again.