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10-21-2008, 09:09 AM
  #1
Newfie John
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Anaheim Ducks @ Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM ET-TSN(Nat'l)

Your Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Anaheim Ducks! Game time at 7:00 live from the Air Canada Center!

TV: TSN-National

Radio: AM 640

VS

Leafs Probable Lineup

Antropov ---- Mitchell --- -Blake
Hagman --- Grabovksi ---- Kulemin
Tlusty --- Moore --- Steen
Mayers-Stajan-Poni

Schenn--Kaberle
Kubina-Carlo
Van Ryn-Frogren

Toskala



Leaf Injuries
Toronto:
Jeff Finger- Day to Day





The Mitchell Report

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO -- There was a time when John Mitchell was thrilled just to find himself on an NHL roster, let alone centring the Toronto Maple Leafs top line.

It was, oh, about two weeks ago.

His NHL career now five games old, Mitchell finds himself holding the No. 1 centre job that belonged to Mats Sundin last season. No pressure there, right?

"That's pretty neat but I don't want to put myself in the same shoes as Mats Sundin," Mitchell said after Monday's practice. "I think if I can do half of what he does I'll do relatively well.

"It's great to know that I've been given the opportunity to play that (role). I think it's just because of the hard work that I've done and the work ethic that I'm trying to put in. Ron likes that."

That would be Ron Wilson, the Maple Leafs coach who has made good on his training camp promise to give each player a clean slate this season.

Consider Mitchell's recent progression. He spent the past three years with the AHL Marlies and never once got a call-up from the big team, which routinely passed him over to give players like Kris Newbury, Ben Ondrus, Jeremy Williams and Robbie Earl a chance.

The 23-year-old eventually caught the eye of Maple Leafs management in the spring by scoring eight times in 19 playoff games for the Marlies. After signing a new contract over the summer, Mitchell knew he would be given an opportunity to play in the NHL if he worked hard.

With the help of Toronto's strength coach, he's done exactly that.

"It has to be everything," said Mitchell. "You can't just come to the rink and show up and work hard (during practice) and that's it. There's a lot of things off the ice that you have to do."

He enters Tuesday's home game against Anaheim with the same number of career NHL goals (0) as most Leaf fans -- a mere 555 behind Sundin.

The stats don't tell the whole story, though. Mitchell played mostly fourth-line minutes on the wing over the opening four games and managed to show enough promise to get elevated to the top unit during a 4-1 loss in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

Wilson figures that Mitchell's speed and willingness to forecheck might translate into more scoring chances for linemates Jason Blake and Nik Antropov.

"I want to give him an opportunity to show us what he can do in regular season games," Wilson said of Mitchell. "He's basically a centreman -- I've had him playing out of position (as a winger). He's fought and competed really hard on faceoffs. He's a big, strong man who can play a low game when it comes down to that.

"I want to see what he can do."

The coach is hoping for more offence all around, telling his players during practice that he wants to see them shoot more and "score goals ugly."

It's a message that comes after the Maple Leafs managed just one goal over the weekend in losing to the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh. They're averaging 1.8 goals per game so far -- tied for 29th overall heading into Monday night's games.

Beyond the top unit, more scoring is also needed from the second line of Mikhail Grabovski, Niklas Hagman and Nikolai Kulemin. Grabovski had five goals during the pre-season but has yet to get his first in the regular season.

"I know I need some goals," he said. "I work hard in practice and I think soon my line will score a goal. Maybe a lot of goals."

Mitchell's strength is his playmaking so there's no reason to expect him to score in bunches now that he's receiving more minutes.

His plan is to simply keep doing the things that earned him a roster spot with the Maple Leafs and eventually got him a place on the top line -- working hard, forechecking and playing sound defensively. He figures that's the best way to overcome his lack of NHL experience.

"I've only played five games but that's no excuse for me to come out and make a handful of mistakes every game and use the excuse, `Well, I've never played in the NHL, I've never played in this league,"' said Mitchell. "You can't do that whether you're 23 years old like me or 18 years old like Luke Schenn. You have to come in and play the game right every shift."

If he continues to do that, more success is sure to follow.

Just don't remind him how big the skates he's currently filling are.

"I don't want to be called the new Mats Sundin," said Mitchell. "Like I said, if I can do about half of what he does I think I'll be doing fine, especially for my first year. Maybe some day I can get to his plateau.

"We'll have to see."



Game Preview

Ducks-Maple Leafs Preview
By DAN PIERINGER
STATS Writer

The Anaheim Ducks were no doubt relieved when they finally got their first points of the season in their fifth game. A loss two nights later may indicate that the club hasn't turned the corner quite yet.

The Ducks look to put an end to their early struggles as they open a four-game road trip against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

Anaheim (1-5-0) recorded back-to-back 100-point finishes - the first two in franchise history - over the last two seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006-07. The Ducks, however, haven't played like one of the NHL's elite clubs in 2008-09.

They lost their first four games by a combined 17-8, and after seemingly getting back on track with a dominant 4-0 win over previously undefeated San Jose on Friday, struggled again in a 3-1 loss to Carolina on Sunday night.

"When things are going against you, as they have this little while, we just haven't found a way to put the puck across the line enough times," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's not for lack of effort or quality scoring chances. We had a territorial advantage a lot of the game."

Carlyle's team has been plagued by an inability to finish all season. The Ducks are a league-worst 1-for-24 on the power play after going 0-for-4 on Sunday.

"It's unbelievable," right wing Teemu Selanne told the team's official Web site. "We're not getting any bounces. ... All kinds of things are happening, but it's not going in our favor. I think it was great effort again (Friday), and we deserved better than this."

After contemplating retirement last season, Selanne rejoined the team in February and had 12 goals and 11 assists in 26 games, with Anaheim going 20-5-1 in those contests. He's off to slow start this season, with one goal in six games.

"I think this team needs time to hang around together," he said. "That is why this road trip is going to be very good. ... It's going to be very important for this hockey club right now. This is a great group of guys here. We can turn this around."

They'll try to start doing it against the Maple Leafs (1-2-2), who are looking for their first win since a season-opening victory over Detroit. Nik Antropov scored a power-play goal at 14:25 of the first period to give Toronto a 1-0 lead Saturday, but the Maple Leafs were dominated the rest of the way in a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

"We just didn't execute very well," said first-year Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson, who was the first coach in Ducks franchise history from 1993-97.

The Maple Leafs didn't fare any better against the Ducks on Jan. 9, falling 5-0 in Anaheim for one of their three shutout losses of the season. The Ducks' Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 28 shots, improving to 2-3-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average in six career games against the Maple Leafs.

Toronto's Vesa Toskala, meanwhile, fell to 2-3-0 with a 3.82 GAA against Anaheim.




LET'S GO MAPLE LEAFS!!!!!!!!!!

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10-21-2008, 09:19 AM
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Here's hoping Grabovski(y) can get a point or two tonight!

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10-21-2008, 09:19 AM
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I have a feeling Mitchell will be off the top line by the second period...

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10-21-2008, 09:32 AM
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Wouldn't surprise me if the Ducks top guys exploded with plenty of goals this game. We're always the solution for other team's problems.

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10-21-2008, 09:57 AM
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Here's hoping Grabovski(y) can get a point or two tonight!
once that line breaks out they'll score in bunches. Like Garbo said "hopefully I will score a lot"

i'm pretty sure he'll start to find the back of the net sooner than later.

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10-21-2008, 09:59 AM
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once that line breaks out they'll score in bunches. Like Garbo said "hopefully I will score a lot"

i'm pretty sure he'll start to find the back of the net sooner than later.
Same. Once they gain the confidence in their shots (it's only a matter of time) that line will be on fire.

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10-21-2008, 10:00 AM
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I have a feeling Mitchell will be off the top line by the second period...
Pretty sure he won't be. I predict:

Mitchell = 1 Goal, 1 Assist tonight against the Ducks and games 2nd Star.

I have said it since last season (when he was a Marlie), he is big, mature, can skate and has great vision on the ice. Overall he is our best forward this season.

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10-21-2008, 10:01 AM
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Same. Once they gain the confidence in their shots (it's only a matter of time) that line will be on fire.
they look great so far this year, just think how good they will look next season!

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10-21-2008, 10:46 AM
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any news of someone getting scratched today.

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10-21-2008, 11:34 AM
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any news of someone getting scratched today.
Carlo out, Van Ryn in.

Apparently those two are the only dmen that will be rotated. Stralman and Schenn are expected to get big minutes from now on. Wilson likes how Frogren is progressing which is why he's regularly in the lineup.

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10-21-2008, 11:36 AM
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any news of someone getting scratched today.
Colaiacovo is sitting out again. They see Stralman as part of the future and want to give him lots of minutes.

Stralman said the adjustment to Wilson's system from Maurice's is even harder than adjusting from the one in Sweden to Maurice's. The reporter said it was like learning a different language for him.

Also, when Finger gets back they are going to have to decide which player sits out for good.

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10-21-2008, 11:48 AM
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Colaiacovo is sitting out again. They see Stralman as part of the future and want to give him lots of minutes.

Stralman said the adjustment to Wilson's system from Maurice's is even harder than adjusting from the one in Sweden to Maurice's. The reporter said it was like learning a different language for him.

Also, when Finger gets back they are going to have to decide which player sits out for good.
when finger comes back, hopefully it's which player gets traded

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10-21-2008, 11:51 AM
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Colaiacovo is sitting out again. They see Stralman as part of the future and want to give him lots of minutes.

Stralman said the adjustment to Wilson's system from Maurice's is even harder than adjusting from the one in Sweden to Maurice's. The reporter said it was like learning a different language for him.

Also, when Finger gets back they are going to have to decide which player sits out for good.
Also reported Cliff is trying to package a forward + Dman for a better forward for help up front..

Logically that forward would be Stajan or Poni that are now 4th liners and Carlo or White.

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10-21-2008, 12:14 PM
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Also reported Cliff is trying to package a forward + Dman for a better forward for help up front..

Logically that forward would be Stajan or Poni that are now 4th liners and Carlo or White.
What would a package of Poni + White even bring in, though?

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10-21-2008, 12:24 PM
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Also reported Cliff is trying to package a forward + Dman for a better forward for help up front..

Logically that forward would be Stajan or Poni that are now 4th liners and Carlo or White.
Last year neither Stajan or Poni were fourth liners, this year Wilson had played Stajan in two games on the 4th line and Pony was playing the first line earlier this year. When did they become 4th line players?

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10-21-2008, 12:24 PM
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What would a package of Poni + White even bring in, though?
That's the problem Fletcher faces and individually Poni, Stajan, Carlo or White don't have a lot of value and even combined its not getting a lot of interest yet.. Carlo and White are healthy scratches and Stajan and Poni are now 4th. If this players can't contribute to the Leafs, then how will they help other teams with higher expectations?

Fletcher is likely to have to make that forward someone like Steen + spare dman to bring in a forward that can help us offensively and young enough to be a part of the future. IMO

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10-21-2008, 12:28 PM
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That's the problem Fletcher faces and individually Poni, Stajan, Carlo or White don't have a lot of value and even combined its not getting a lot of interest yet.. Fletcher is likely to have to make that forward someone like Steen + spare dman to bring in a forward that can help us offensively and young enough to be a part of the future. IMO
I recall Fletch saying that trades very rarelly occur at this time, and most teams will have to wait 15-20 games into the season, before more activity on the trade front takes place. Fletch also said that White would get claimed off of waivers, and there was one team interested in him durring a time when trades rarelly happen? Either Fletch is lying or your making this stuff up. If a team is interested in White, i don;t see how there could be no interest in Poni, Stajan, or Carlo either.

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10-21-2008, 12:40 PM
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Last year neither Stajan or Poni were fourth liners, this year Wilson had played Stajan in two games on the 4th line and Pony was playing the first line earlier this year. When did they become 4th line players?
Leafs have played 5 games, in at least 2 of those games Stajan has been the 4th line center and another time he was a healthy scratch not playing at all.

Today both Pony and Stajan find themselves on the 4th line and in coach Wilson doghouse for today's game because of their play. So for Stajan that is 4 of 6 games where he is now =< 4th line center and he has Zero points on the season.

What other evidence do you need to convince you ?

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10-21-2008, 12:42 PM
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Pretty sure he won't be. I predict:

Mitchell = 1 Goal, 1 Assist tonight against the Ducks and games 2nd Star.

I have said it since last season (when he was a Marlie), he is big, mature, can skate and has great vision on the ice. Overall he is our best forward this season.
Not a chance... i really havent been that impressed with Mitchell. It looks like he has some good tools, but hasnt created much IMO.

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10-21-2008, 12:47 PM
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Leafs have played 5 games, in at least 2 of those games Stajan has been the 4th line center and another time he was a healthy scratch not playing at all.

Today both Pony and Stajan find themselves on the 4th line and in coach Wilson doghouse for today's game because of their play. So for Stajan that is 4 of 6 games where he is now =< 4th line center and he has Zero points on the season.

What other evidence do you need to convince you ?
What has Grabovski done that Stajan hasn't? What has Myers done that Ponikarovsky hasn't?

The only two players that Fletcher brought in that have earned their ice time over other players are Schenn and Hagman. It's blatantly obvious that he is giving guys that he brought in more rope.

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10-21-2008, 12:51 PM
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This Grabovski hate blows me away. Hes a rookie (yes, still a rookie), generating chances and forchecking hard. Hes getting chances, its not like hes just floating around or hurting the team when hes out there with his play like Stajan.

Your anti-Fletcher agenda has been very very thinly veiled as of recent.

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10-21-2008, 01:03 PM
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What has Grabovski done that Stajan hasn't? What has Myers done that Ponikarovsky hasn't?

The only two players that Fletcher brought in that have earned their ice time over other players are Schenn and Hagman. It's blatantly obvious that he is giving guys that he brought in more rope.
Well first of all, Grabovski>>>>Stajan and Mayers is a "shift" disturber.

Why all the hate for Grabs? IMO, even though he doesn't have any points, has been our best player. He generates many chances, causes turnovers and has tremendous speed. He's like Blake but passes it also.

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10-21-2008, 01:07 PM
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Why all the love for Grabs?

He looks like Moore or Devereaux out there - good NHL speed and hustle, with AHL hands.

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10-21-2008, 01:09 PM
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Why all the love for Grabs?

He looks like Moore or Devereaux out there - good NHL speed and hustle, with AHL hands.
The guy generates ALOT of chances, though.

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10-21-2008, 01:09 PM
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The lines are almost perfect for tonights game. Hopefully Mitchell can impress Wilson enough to keep him there.

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