Mitchell back on ice

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Maple Leafs rookie winger John Mitchell, who separated his should last Thursday in Boston, was able to skate and take shots alongside his teammates at practice yesterday and is hoping to play at least one game on the club's three-game western Canadian swing, which begins tonight in Calgary.

"There's definitely a possibility that I'll get the opportunity to play in a game. But it all depends on how the shoulder feels and how much strength I can get with it," Mitchell said. "If I can withstand taking a body check or giving one, then sure I can play."

Mitchell was hit into the boards by Boston defenceman Aaron Ward. He said yesterday that the shoulder, while still sore and a little weak, is getting better.

"Yeah it still hurts, but that's going to happen. it's a shoulder separation," said Mitchell, who has five points in 14 games, and had worked his way on to the first and second line after starting the season with the on the fourth unit. "But if I can skate, and use motion with my arms, I'm going to keep skating. You don't want to get out of shape. It's one thing to ride the bike, but it's a whole other thing when you're actually skating on the ice."

EXCITING STUFF

Rookie defenceman Luke Schenn expects over 20 friends and family to make the trip from his hometown of Saskatoon to Calgary for tonight's game at the Pengrowth Saddledome, and a few to make the trip to Edmonton's Rexall Place for Thursday's game as well.

"Oh yeah, for sure. It's pretty special, it's the closest place to home so there's going to be lots of people there," said Schenn.

The Leafs haven't had a western Canadian swing since the 2005-06 season.

The Calgary Flames are the most penalized team in the NHL, averaging 20.9 minutes per game. Toronto, on the other end, are the least penalized squad, averaging just 11.2 minutes (tied with the Minnesota Wild).

AROUND THE NET

While Jason Blake continues to struggle scoring goals -- two goals on 54 shots (3.7%) -- rookie centre Mikhail Grabovski has scored seven goals on just 29 shots (a 24.1% success rate).

According to a report, Ducks' GM Brian Burke is now rumoured to be going to Boston next season.

Burke has family in the area. It also has been suggested numerous times that Burke will be the Leafs' GM next season. He is supposed to be informing the Anaheim owners in the next six-to-seven weeks if he plans to accept a contract extension there. It's likely he won't. Ottawa is another possible destination for Burke.


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