TORONTO– It was a positive day for Leafs prospect, and Marlies leading scorer, Joe Colborne.
After missing the last three games with a lower-body injury, Colborne skated on Wednesday for the first time with clearance for contact and regular drills.
“Yeah I felt great out there today,” he said after the 75 minute practice. “I was worried about how I would hold up but it felt great and I’m making good progress. Hopefully I’ll be ready for Friday.”
Still not confirmed to be in the line-up Friday when the Marlies face the Rochester Americans, Colborne looked good on the ice and stuck around after practice for some extra individual work; something he does regularly.
“It was nice to have a long practice today and get a good sweat going,” he said. “Hopefully getting back to game shape won’t be a problem.”
Getting back into game shape likely won’t be an issue considering once he’s in the line up he’ll be right back to top line minutes.
With 19 points in 12 games, Colborne leads the Marlies in scoring even after missing the last week of hockey.
He should be an instant impact to a team that has scored just 17 goals in their last eight games; all on the road.
“He’s a real all round player”, said current Leafs forward Joey Crabb. “He’s got the size, skill and speed. He’s got the willingness to work hard for pucks and when he’s got the puck he does good things.”
Before Crabb’s call up on November 1st, he was playing the right side to Colborne and had 15 points in 9 games.
“I think we had a good combination of wanting the puck, going and getting it and then having the skills to make things happen,” said Crabb about why they were so successful together. “I loved playing with him and I’m sure he’s just gonna get better. He’s just a young guy and like I said, he’s big and I’m sure he’s gonna keep filling out too.”
With recent injuries to player’s on the Leafs roster added to the success Colborne had before his own injury, speculation has been brought on about if or when he could see time with the big club.
But that’s not something he puts any thought into.
“The nice thing about having a nice situation with the Marlies is I can continue to improve. I’m lucky I don’t have to worry about that (rumours). You hear things all the time about who’s getting called up. It’s the nature of the game and I learned pretty quick last year that if you start letting those things into your head you won’t play well down here and then you won’t deserve a call up”
When it does happen, Colborne will in fact deserve the call up. But first, he will worry about Friday.