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Willie Mitchell knows opportunities to win Cup are rare

Willie Mitchell, Ilya Kovalchuk

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 02: Willie Mitchell #33 of the Los Angeles Kings handles the puck against Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils during Game Two of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on June 2, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings need just two more wins to capture the Stanley Cup. Most of their core players are in their early-to-mid 20s with a lot of hockey ahead of them. They can appreciate just how special this moment is, but 35-year-old Willie Mitchell knows first-hand how rare it is.

“I can just talk about how much I’m enjoying it at (age) 35,” Mitchell said. “There’s guys in here who have won Stanley Cups ... and they can give me perspective on it. There’s a lot of guys that are highly motivated.

“All of us have different stories, all of us have different reasons, but the one thing that motivates us all is the same thing, right?”

Mitchell was originally drafted by his current opponent, the New Jersey Devils. He was even an extra player when they won the Stanley Cup in 2000, but he was only an observer in their postseason run.

That’s not the case this time. He’s second only to Drew Doughty in terms of total ice time for the Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs. He doesn’t capture many headlines, but he’s been a big part of their stunning 2011-12 campaign.