Mar 8, 2012; Ottawa, ON, CAN; New York Rangers centre John Mitchell (34) prior to a game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE
When John Mitchell comes to mind, it's between people absolutely hating on the guy, and others who simply love his gritty type of game. I for one, am a fan of Mr. John Mitchell's game, and the way he works out on the ice. While he can make mistakes, he's only human, and everyone makes mistakes every now and then.
Since Mitchell plays more of a checking, and "grinding it out" type of role for the Rangers, he's often in the gritty areas of the ice. He is great in the corners, and has great ability to dig out a loose puck or pick his opponent's pocket. In addition, he can also put the puck into the net, as he has a great shot when he decides to use it.
Mitchell was called up to the Rangers after 17 total games down in the American Hockey League, for the Connecticut Whale. Him and fellow teammate, Carl Hagelin, have been up on the big club since being recalled, and I don't think they will be going anywhere fast. In 61 games this season with the Rangers, Mitchell has put up five goals, along with 11 assists, for 16 total points.
While those numbers don't seem very impressive, take a look at the video after the jump.
This goal right here, is probably one of the prettier goals Mitchell has scored throughout his career. Mitchell notices that there is an odd-man rush developing as they cross over the blue line. Rather than trying to get into the play, he trails behind and eventually takes a drop pass from Carl Hagelin. He finishes it off with a laser of wrist shot, that picked the top right corner of the net. Wow.
However, one of Mitchell's major flaws would have to be his ability to turnover the puck. He has cost the Rangers multiple goals this season alone, by turning over the puck at the wrong time. Now I know every play has committed turnovers in their careers, but sometimes his hockey smarts aren't all there. I forgot which game it was this season, but Mitchell turned over the puck in the offensive zone near the blue line, when he could have simply dumped the puck in. As a result, the opposition turned right around and came down ice to score an eventual goal on the Rangers. Mitchell has been good with the turnovers as of late, and I really hope we never get to see the other side of it again.
Over the last while, Mitchell has been paired up with Brandon Prust, and Mike Rupp on the fourth line. While this line may not look the greatest on paper, they sure can outwork you for the puck. Surprisingly, a majority of the time, the fourth line is able to turn the momentum around, and turn up the pressure on their opponent's. And Mitchell is one of the main contributing factors for that line's success.
As for nicknames, you can refer to Mitchell as "Gretzky" which he acquired for this year's episode(s) of HBO's 24/7. Apparently he also goes by the nickname of "Mitchabov" according to his twitter handle. Not sure where that one stemmed from, but I guess it sounds pretty cool, right?