Monday, August 18, 2008

Joe Colborne Breaks 200 lb. Barrier

(left) Is Joe Colborne on the "Phelps 12,000 Calorie Diet?"

by Kevin Paul Dupont

Joe Colborne, the Bruins' top pick in the June draft, has already posted some impressive numbers this summer.

"I'm happy to say, for the first time in my life, I'm over 200 pounds," said Colborne, reached late last week while he was in the midst of wrapping up a family vacation in British Columbia. "Pretty neat, and I feel a lot stronger."

Colborne's weight gain has been managed through workouts and a high-protein diet. He is some 10 pounds heavier than when he reported to the Wilmington development camp at the start of July, and 10-12 pounds heavier than when he began his final year of junior hockey last fall. Ideally, he says, he'll be around 220 when he launches his NHL career (perhaps as early as 2009-10).

"You look at some of the bigger guys now, like [Joe ] Thornton and [Vinny] Lecavalier, they're both pretty thick," he said. "But when they were 18 years old, they weren't all that thick. Now they're up around 220-230. That's where I'd like to be, eventually, and maybe 205 by the time this season starts."

Colborne will be front and center in the University of Denver lineup for 2008-09. He will return to his home in Calgary this week, continue workouts with an assortment of NHLers (Rhett Warrener and Cory Sarich among them) and fly to Denver Aug. 31 to begin school. Practices begin almost immediately, as do classes. His courses will include US history, calculus, English, and one or two on finance.

He also plans to be inside the Pepsi Center the night of Oct. 9 when the Bruins kick off their 2008-09 campaign against the Colorado Avalanche.

"Yeah, how crazy is that?" said Colborne. "Hopefully, I'll be there to watch the guys get their first win of the year."


Anonymous said...

What's the word on Colborne? Is he one and done or can we expect him to stick around for a couple years? Sounds like he has some filling out to do if he's 6"5 and just now getting to 200.

dggoddard said...

In this era, its a year to year decision. The window for DU appears to be one to three years.

Filling out his frame its just one of the issues.

* If Boston offers him a spot on the NHL Roster, he's gone immediately, no if, ands or buts.

* If he doesn't like the DU coaches or his teammates, he's gone.

* If he got into some sort trouble or poor grades (both very unlikely) he's gone.

* If he feels he'll "develop" faster in the AHL, he's gone.

On the otherhand, if he's happy at DU he may stay a couple of years. Its important to note that the "2009" comment in the article is the opinion of the writer, not a direct quote from Colborne.

At the end of the day, if DU wants to recruit exciting players like Colborne, Shore & Donovan know that they are "flight risks" the moment they step on campus. Enjoy watching them play and hope that DU can keep the recruiting pipeline flowing with young stars when they inevitablly leave.

Anonymous said...

"In this era it is a year to year decision" + "At the end of the day, if DU wants to recruit exciting players like Colborne, Shore & Donovan know that they are "flight risks" the moment they step on campus. Enjoy watching them play and hope that DU can keep the recruiting pipeline flowing with young stars when they inevitablly leave." This is absolutely true and frankly it is really distrubing. Perhaps I am an old timer but I am having difficulty understanding why college hockey is going the way of college basketball with the "1 and done" or if you are lucky "2 and done" scenario for top draft choices.

I know that the NHL teams are dictating this scenario by pressuring kids to turn pro often before they are actually ready but the colleges are also duplicit in this arrangement in that they offer these kids scholarships knowing full well that they won't be around for very long. Then when the kids leaves at the end of the season (or as is becomming more common - mid-season) team chemistry/psyche is often destroyed, and the finger pointing begins (i.e. Minnesota).

What is the point? To be able to say that the player graced the ice at a given college? As a recruiting tool to lure future prospects ("Tom Smith played here for one year and so should you"). Hey, the kids was going to play pro hockey despite attending the school anyway. He had "game" before he entered the school and 1 year is not going to elevate it much. To win a national championship with what essentially is a rent a player?

Further, this practice also results in "overrecruiting" (i.e Wisc.) since you want plenty of players waiting in the wings if players change their mind at the last minute and bolt for the CHL.

I understand the logic behind it with respect to college basketball because college bball is in effect the development league for the NBA. With hockey however there is obviously the CHL which is the route that the majority of NHL players take. I know that the CHL used to have a monopoly on kids that would eventually play professionally and now the NCAA and CHL compete for these kids tooth and nail with the NCAA having made significant inroads.

I believe that if a player is attending a D1 school as a "student-athelete" then he should stay all 4 years or at least 3 if he is a high draft choice. If, not recruit kids who will stay for 3-4 years, who will stick around long enough for team cohesion to develop, and who are attending the school to truly gain an education and not to use it as a stepping stone to greater pro glory. Perhaps that are not quite as talented as the top draft choices but they will provide you with very entertaining hockey and they will stick around.

I know that I am tilting at windmills here but I just hate the direction that I see the college game heading towards. Hats off to players who stick around for 3 or all 4 years and uphold their academics (Ruegg, Rak, etc.). These guys are bona fide student- athletes.

dggoddard said...

Thanks for posting and you raise good issues.

If you want to see Colborne, Stasty and Carle wear the Crimson and Gold, leaving early is the price of admission.

A look at DU's roster from 2004 NC team. A majority of the players are playing professional hockey or making a living in the hockey business.

Skinner, Veiderman, Gauthier, Corbin, Carle, Foster, Fulgham, James, Caldwell, Berkhoel & Fisher are all playing professionally.

McConnell, Larson & Laatsch all have jobs that are hockey related.

Hockey is a business and DU helped prepare them for opportunities on and off the ice. Many DU alums are going to make a decent living without skating in the NHL. And with or without DU degrees.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with what you say. Indeed college hockey has become a big business which certainly has its pros & cons. It just seems that in a very short period of time D1 college hockey has gone from a game that maintained a sense of "purity" in terms of student athletes participating and then moving on with their lives into the real world to that of so much of the game being geared toward developing the (eventual) professional player. This has trickled down to youth sports where every player in virtually every sport (certainly hockey) is seeking a college scholarship and nobody seems to play for the love of the game anymore.

You are correct that 1/2 a loaf is better than no loaf and that having these players for a brief period of time is better than nothing at all. They are indeed gifted and fun to watch. However, DU and other great hockey programs are victims of their own success to the extent that the championships lure better players which yield better results which keeps the feeder pipeline of great players coming, albeit on a temporary basis.

In order to win championships though you need not only the stud 1st round daft choices but you especially need the grinders, and grunts that round out a team. At least you used to. The players that you named from the national championship teams were well known in hockey circles but were not "superstars" per se. If memory serves me correct, Kevin Ulanski initally went to DU on an academic scholarship and later earned an athletic scholarship. Gabe G was not the most graceful skater but was/is a fireplug that was virtually unmoveable in front of the net. He can shoot the lights out too. Kevin was a classic grinder who though slight in stature took the punishment necessary to win the battles in the corners.

Its funny, but I look at your list with the 4 possible scenarios in which a top player would depart (which by the way is spot on) and I just shake my head. Coach Armstrong had a number of players who went into the NHL from college after playing for 3- 4 years (Maggie and Cliffy K immediately come to mind) but the thought that they would leave early because they "didn't like the coach or players" is laughable- oh man. If you "like your coach" while you are playing under him then he is not working you hard enough. You get along as teammates but often you may not personally care for another individual but you deal with it.

I know that the cow is already out of the barn and that my whining won't change anything but I will continue to long for the good ol days. Oh and go DU!

dggoddard said...

GO DU :-)

Twister said...

No question players leaving early is becoming more and more of an issue. It's certainly not limited to hockey, though. I guess the bottom line for me is I'm happy to have the opportunity to watch a guy such as Colborne, even if for just one year.