Mitchell hopeful for Hawks

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Maple Leafs rookie John Mitchell continues to increase his workload after suffering a mild shoulder separation two weeks ago. The forward is eyeing a return on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre when the Leafs face the Chicago Blackhawks.

"It's getting better, hopefully I'll be able to go on Saturday," said Mitchell, who suffered a mild shoulder separation on Nov. 6 in Boston.

"I'm kind of getting sick and tired of not playing. You never want to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time, but you don't want to rush back too early and keep aggravating it either."

Leafs coach Ron Wilson suggested that Mitchell could return Saturday, which means he'll have to look for another candidate to be a healthy scratch.

WHITE KNIGHT

Wilson continues to be impressed by the play of defenceman-turned-forward Ian White, who has dressed in the past eight games after being a healthy scratch for the first 11.

White, who has a point in each of his past six games and seven of his past eight, has been a nice energy addition up front.

"We were never down on him, it was just a numbers thing on the back end," Wilson said of White's lengthy wait to dress for a game.

"Now he's learning a new position and he's picked up on it. He's pretty creative. Going forward, it might make some more sense for him to play up front."

CARLO CLICKING

Wilson also had praise for another defenceman, Carlo Colaiacovo, who had found himself in and out of the lineup earlier in the season.

"Carlo is getting in better shape, that's what I'm on him about all the time," Wilson said. "He's got to improve his conditioning and his strength. I think that's one of the reasons he's been injured a lot in the past.

"If you're not in great shape, you get tired and that's when you get hurt."

Colaiacovo has been in the lineup for the past five games and hopes he doesn't have to take a forced night off any time soon.

"I've worked really hard off the ice to get opportunities here," Colaiacovo said. "I want to stay in the lineup. I want to be a guy who helps to contribute every night."


Videos

Photos