March 19, 2015
TORONTO— Given the turmoil in Toronto, Gord Dineen endorses the idea of Colton Orr taking another skate in a Maple Leafs sweater.
When asked on Tuesday if he’d like to see Orr—whose contract with Toronto expires at the end of this season— recalled from the American Hockey League so he could dress one, potentially, final time with the Leafs, the Marlies coach was in full support of having it happen.
“Yeah,” said Dineen. “Just the dedication he’s had over the years, he’s been such a good pro for us this year as far as he’s conducted himself.
“You’d love to see him get that opportunity.”
Orr has never referenced the thought of rejoining a team he dropped the gloves for 56 times over five seasons. When personal goals were discussed in January, he only talked about what he could do for the prospects in the system.
“Show the guys what pro is all about, just be a leader,” said Orr.
The 33-year-old forward has 476 career NHL games under his belt— including 235 with the Leafs— but has spent the past season in Toronto’s minor-league system after it was made clear by management he wouldn’t be part of the big club’s forward plan.
Much has changed, however, for the Leafs over the course of the season. And an organization that entered the year with playoffs in mind was officially eliminated from contention after a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.
Unlike three years ago when Orr was demoted to the Marlies the first time and worked his way back onto the team— and was awarded a new two-year contract extension—this season with the Marlies has been difficult to say the least.
Re-occurring injuries have limited the Winnipeg native to just 13 games and he hasn’t dropped the gloves once. Through January and February he missed his biggest span of action, 24-of-25 games, but returned this weekend and suited up in two of three games.
“A combination of a few different things, not just injury but illness,” said Dineen.
Toronto still has 11 games to play and is at a crossroad where, ultimately, losses have more value than wins if you consider the upcoming NHL Draft.
Summoning a healthy Orr, who put together eight NHL seasons as the type of player the league is now attempting to abolish, would be more of a sentimental action than anything else, which makes it highly unlikely. But with the way everything has gone for Toronto this season, nothing can be considered a surprise.
“Right now (a recall) is up to the guys up top,” said Dineen. “But I know they recognize his dedication, too, so we’ll see what happens.”