Center John Mitchell missed the final two games of last season and the entire playoffs with a concussion sustained in a game against the Vancouver Canucks. He missed the entire preseason and the first two games with migraines that he says affect his vision.
According to Hockey Buzz, Mitchell states that he has a “small problem” with his vision. He’s apparently doing exercises to retrain his eyes.
Mitchell, naturally, is very frustrated not to be able to get out and play hockey:
“It’s very frustrating, especially when it’s a head problem, but it’s not even a significant problem for me. It’s a very small aspect of the game that’s frustrating for me.”
Mitchell’s not a high scorer — in his best season, last year with the Avalanche, he scored 11 goals and 21 assists for 32 points. However, he’s good at handling the puck — and great at protecting the puck, which the Avs need right now.
The Avalanche are on a four-game road trip that takes them back East, including against Mitchell’s old team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mitchell is traveling with the team in the hopes of playing.
Mitchell said of the opportunity to play again:
Normally Mitchell plays on the third line. It was expected he would center Max Talbot and Jamie McGinn. However, head coach Patrick Roy has introduced a new system of scoring tandems that lines up high scorers such as star center Matt Duchene and veteran Jarome Iginla with a role player, in this case McGinn. Nate MacKinnon is currently the third-line center, partnered with Alex Tanguay. Daniel Briere is their role player. It therefore looks pretty good that Mitchell would center the fourth line with Max Talbot, and Cody McLeod as their role player.
“I want to get out there and provide some depth and help the guys out as much as I can, in any way that I can. I’m really looking forward to this road trip, and hopefully I can get a couple games on it. The ultimate test is to play in a game and see how you feel.”
For his part, Mitchell is just grateful to be back with the “boys,” his teammates. For the Avalanche, it would be helpful to have Mitchell back in the lineup.