Joe Colborne Still Trying To Add Weight

(above) Joe Colborne & the Toronto Marlies are playing for the AHL Championship this week
From: National Post
by Michael Traikos

Joe Colborne is hungry. As you read this, the 22-year-old is probably drinking a protein shake or sitting down in front of a heaping plate of chicken and pasta. Whatever it is, it is still not enough. He wants to eat more. He needs to eat more. 

Not to necessarily pack pounds onto his slender frame, but more so to temporarily prevent the grains of sand from passing through the hourglass that acts as his hearty metabolism.

“If I only ate three meals a day, I’d probably lose five pounds or more,” said the 6-foot-5 Colborne, who grew a half-inch in the last few months and whose weight can fluctuate from 208 to 218 pounds on a given day.

“It just never ends. I’ll go out for food and everyone else is ready to leave and I’m ready to eat a whole other meal. But I guess that’s a good thing too when I get older. I’ll be laughing at the other guys who will be getting fat.”

Right now, Colborne’s weight is like everything else about the Maple Leafs prospect: a work in progress. A first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2008, the Calgary native was sent to Toronto as part of a trade for Tomas Kaberle near the end of 2010-11. And while Kaberle helped the Bruins win a Stanley Cup, the Leafs are still waiting on what they eventually hope develops into a top-six forward.

Patience, however, has been the key.

Colborne needs to get bigger, stronger, faster and become more consistent offensively before he challenges for a job with the Leafs next season. That being said, he has shown flashes of potential.
He started this past season with eight goals and eight assists in his first nine games, and he was named the American Hockey League’s player of the month in October. The following month, he was called up to the Leafs and scored his first NHL goal and recorded three assists in nine games.
But like his weight, the production was difficult to keep up.

After being sent back to the minors at the end of November, Colborne struggled to score and finished the season with just eight goals and 15 assists in his final 56 games. During one miserable stretch at the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, he went 30 games without a goal. He has two goals and five assists in 13 playoff games heading into Game 3 of the Calder Cup final on Thursday.

These would not appear to be the stats of someone who is ready to make a full-time jump to the NHL. Colborne knows it. But at the same time, he is not discouraged by his development.

“I was hot, for sure,” he said of that incredible first month. “I think there have been flashes of it, but it hasn’t been as consistent as I would like to be … but it’s not over yet. It’s sort of been a trying year at times, but it’s also been a huge learning experience for me.”

There are several reasons why Colborne suddenly went from looking like the Leafs’ top prospect to an average Joe — he lost a linemate, he lacerated his finger, he grew a half inch — but at the end of the day, it might boil down to managing expectations.

“Early in the season, he just got off to an unbelievable start,” said head coach Dallas Eakins, who has Colborne centering a line with Carter Ashton and Greg Scott. “To keep that pace up, now that’s the problem with a player. If you’re going to do a test on a mile run, don’t go run the mile in five minutes the first time, because they’re going to expect you to do that every time.

“So Joe got off to a great start. I think he kind of came back to reality mid-season, more of how we thought he would play. But when you get off to a great start as a young man and it’s not going for you, you start losing your confidence. He started going outside his game, trying things.”

Eakins wants Colborne to get back to using his big frame to his advantage and driving the net and hanging onto the puck more down low. But he has no issues with his effort or attitude, especially considering Colborne has been playing through more than the usual bumps and bruises that come from a long playoff run.

“There is some stuff,” he said. “I’m sure it will come out at the end of the year.”

“He’s a really motivated kid,” Eakins said. “He’s not someone who’s leaving every day going, ‘Had a bad day and it’s not a big deal.’ He’s thinking about it. His play has weighed on him at points, but he’s always looking for — even when he’s playing great — a way to get better.”

For now, the way to do that is to keep eating.


dggoddard said...

Colborne never used his size to drive to the net, while at DU. Compare that to Zucker who always looked for contact.

Explains why one guy is in the NHL and the other guy isn't.

miller said...

I agree. Big Joe would hold up most of the time rather than take the big hit. He was looking for the "easy" goal rather than hanging around the net looking for a "sloppy" goal.

dggoddard said...

He would get physical in front of the net in the last two minutes of games where DU was trailing.

Joe, Raks & Ruegsegger were very effective late in games. They scored many come from behind victories his Sophomore year.

Some players like physical play and don't fear the boards and some players just never can bring themselves to do it.

Anonymous said...

Wanna bet on how long the little fella lasts in the NHL? It’s one thing to play a couple of games at the end of the season for a team that is out of contention and quite another to survive the regular season for a quality team.

Anonymous said...

He should have a break out year in the ECHL. If not maybe the new Denver team could pick him up.

Anonymous said...

boy, how quick you idiots are to diss the kid after worshipping him. I'd love to critique you at your job every second of every day while someone is trying to separate your body parts. have another beer you clowns! Keep pushing Jumbo!

dggoddard said...

Colborne was a first round draft pick so he'll always be under the microscope. He was also traded for Tomas Kaberle who helped Boston win a Stanley Cup.

Secondly, two of Canada's largest publications ran articles about Joe in the past week questioning his weight, speed, strength, consistency, potential, production & conditioning.

Thirdly, one of the articles mentioned, "a lack of driving to the net and establishing himself down low." As a professional, that's on the player.

At the end of the day, Colborne is a poster child for what's wrong with the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement. Hopefully he's just a late bloomer and will be able to add enough size and strength before his body breaks down or NHL teams give up on him.

The fact remains that he weighs less today than he did when he left DU and he never established himself as a dominant college player because he left DU after just two seasons.

Anonymous said...

I think he's still got potential; we'll see. I just watched the Calder Cup final today (replay) - and keep in mind I ain't seen JC play hockey since his last game at Magness - but I recall, when he came to DU, he was a little timid in the ends along the boards and shied away from confrontation; whereas during his last year at DU, he was starting to develop a mean streak and got more aggressive, and stood up to anybody out there. Today, I saw the Freshman Joe that I once knew - not the billy badass who left DU....

Harumph said...

It's rather insane that his body is still developing. I really don't think he's comfortable enough with his size/weight yet to throw it around. I know that sounds nuts, but it's how I see it.

He could become a dangerous player if his body would stop growing and allow him to get used to it and learn how to use his size to the max potential. Most of us don't have to worry about that after we pass 18 beyond just our beer bellies growing. (:

Anonymous said...

Colborne was pampered at DU...never had to go into the corners and dig out a puck, never went hard to the net, never played "big"...just floated out front and waited for the puck to be served up for him...he's a well-mannered, intelligent young man from a well-to-do family and will be fine after his hockey career is over after next year..