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Quick Hits: The MITCHELL! Edition

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NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Because everyone will wonder about the title of the article, it’s an elaborate inside Mystery Science Theater 3K joke: See?

Around the League

Quick Shifts: Maple Leafs' Marner still looking for his dance partner - Sportsnet.ca
For anyone who is upset about his or her favorite player being used improperly, please bow at the altar of the Mitch Marner fan.

OK, I realize that sounds a little weird, but man, Marner seems to be being utilized in an aggressively sub-optimal way.

From the article:

Babcock thinks of forwards in terms of pairs: Matthews-Nylander, Bozak-van Riemsdyk, Kardi-Komarov. But Marner has never been matched with that one guy who just fits.

A year ago, he ranked third among Leafs forwards in ice time (16:48). He’s now down to seventh among forwards at 14:55 per night.

“Mitch doesn’t want to play on the fourth line, and we don’t necessarily want him on the fourth line,” Babcock said. “We want him to play enough that he’s important to the team.”

I still believe in Marner as a potentially elite-level NHL talent, but it sure seems like Babcock is having some reservations.

In Red Wings Land

Red Wings shooting for ‘dirty’ goals
Ted Kulfan from the Detroit News talks about how the Red Wings need to increase their number of “dirty goals.”

I get the sentiment, but to be frank, it’s not the reason why the Wings are struggling. They can’t exit the defensive zone or enter the offensive zone consistently, and it’s the former more than the latter.

Also in this article, Kulfan uncritically explains something that I wholeheartedly disagree with:

In an effort to generate offense Thursday, Blashill moved Anthony Mantha on to Zetterberg’s line to establish a net-front presence.

“They don’t have a natural net presence guy (Zetterberg line) and you’ve got to make sure you are fighting to get to the net,” Blashill said. “I had Mantha (with Zetterberg) a lot in the second and third period. He’s a big body so he’s got to get to the net.”

Mantha cut Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 with a tipped goal on the power play late in the third period.

“There’s definitely more to come,” said goaltender Jimmy Howard on Mantha’s potential. “He works on his game every single day, just like the rest of us. The sky’s the limit for him.”

I don’t disagree with Mantha’s potential. Or his ability to help a line. I disagree with moving him off the LAM line. (Or the ALA line if we want to use some first names).

Zetterberg seems to do just fine without breaking up another line to help him. Keep the kids together and let them develop chemistry.