Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Johnny Mitchell Effect

The best thing to happen to the Toronto Maple Leafs this season might just be a knee injury to John Mitchell.

Since Mitchell was placed on Long Term Injury Reserve the Leafs are 8-3.

Let me be clear: I know the winning streak has a lot to do with stable goaltending, a relatively soft schedule, and better compliance with Coach Wilson’s forechecking system.

That said, taking Mitchell out of the picture made three important things happen:

1. It brought an end to all the useless talk about who should centre Kessel;
2. It gave Stajan an extended opportunity to establish himself as the defacto #1Centre and, more importantly, it meant Mitchell (a fine #3 or #4 Centre) didn’t have to struggle or play in situations way-over his head; and
3. By solidifying the situation up the middle, all four Leaf lines have found some chemistry, provided secondary scoring and balanced play.

It will be interesting to see how Coach Wilson fits Mitchell back into the line-up once he gets the clearance to play.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Leafs assign Mitchell to the Marlies on a conditioning stint that’s just long enough to get this team to the trade deadline. Doing so would give Burke the opportunity to make addditional moves that don't expose Leaf players to waivers and a chance to move an extra body or two for a late round pick.

6 comments:

  1. Is John fucking Mitchell due back any time soon? I thought his was a long-term injury. But I'm usually wrong, so, you know...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Leafer19843:55 p.m.

    One healthy, I hope he centers the 4th line and Wallin gets a little trip on a catapult back to Sweden

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous6:58 p.m.

    Please waive John Mitchell, or send him to the Marlies so when he becomes a free agent, we can claim him. RedWing Fan #1

    ReplyDelete
  4. Eyebleaf - I don't think Mitchell is due back until mid to late January. The injury happened in early November and the Leafs said he'd be out 8 weeks.

    Leafer - I get the feeling Gustavsson and Wallin were a package deal. You'll have to get used to Wallin being with the Leafs until the end of this season.

    Anonymous - I expect John Mitchell would have the same impact in Detroit as former Leaf Jeremy Williams (he of the million dollar shot and ten sent skating ability).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah but I'm really hoping Wallin remembers his life-long dream of becoming the head towel-and-water-bottle-boy for an NHL club and quits the active roster.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous7:38 p.m.

    Lets Not Get Confused by FACTS:
    Fastest skater on the Leafs: John Mitchell
    Last Center to score TWO goals on Marty Brodeur?: John Mitchell
    Only Leaf Center who will stick up for mates and Fight: John Mitchell
    Go Ahead and put him on the trading block. Please do!

    ReplyDelete