Joe Colborne Interview

"You put your right skate in…you take your right skate out…"

Editor’s Note: Andrey Osadchenko has another interview with a Leafs prospect. This time it’s PPP’s # 5 on their ranking of the Top 25 Under 25 Maple Leafs prospects: Joe Colborne.

You were recently sent down from the NHL where ironically enough you played 2 games against the team that originally drafted you – the Boston Bruins. What was that like?

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It was a pretty cool experience obviously. Playing in the NHL it’s a dream come true. The Bruins are a great team. They dominated us pretty bad but it’s still great to play against a team that let you go. You kind of want to go and show them what they’ve missed. Again, they had a great season so far. Hopefully the Leafs are going to make it to the play-offs and we’re going ot beat them there.

Are you frustrated in any way that you played your first NHL game not with the Bruins but with the Leafs?

No, I’m very thankful. I’m loving every second in Toronto. They’ve made me feel welcome from Day 1. I love it here. I’m happy with the way the things have worked out. 

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What happened in those 2 games? The Leafs lost them both with a total score of 10-4.

We were probably at one of our lowest points of the season. And they were at one of the highest points of their season. They were on a big winning streak. It was just 2 games. Thankfully you don’t play just 1 or 2 games. Hopefully, when it comes to crunch time and the Leafs play them again whether I’m up or not, it’ll be a lot closer than that and we’ll be on the right side this time.

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Do you have to adjust your game when you play against a team that has just won the Stanley Cup?

Definitely. They are the best team in the world, I guess you could say. That’s where we as an organization want to be. Hopefully, we’re going to be doing as well as they are doing and continue to improve. I see a lot of good things coming from the Leafs right now. And from down here with the Marlies too. So we can continue to build and carry on.

You scored your first NHL goal against the Tampa Bay Lighting. Was it exactly the way you imagined it would be when you played street hockey as a kid?

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I think it was the exact opposite from the way I’d imagined it. But I’ll take. Obviously it wasn’t pretty but it’s still my first NHL goal. Hopefully, I’ll have plenty more that are prettier to look at.

Do you know that you scored your only NHL goal so far in the game where you had the least amount of ice-time?

I had no idea about that, actually.

Is it fair to say that the more pressure they put on your shoulders, the better you play?

I like pressure. I like being a guy the team puts pressure on to produce. I’ve liked that my whole life. That’s why I like being on the shooouts at the end of the games. I like being on penalty shots and stuff like that. I guess, I’m a guy who thrives on pressure and enjoys it. I know that other guys are different. But for me it’s nothing, it’s not a big deal.

At the beginning of the season your production was sky-high. How would you explain it?

I was playing with great linemates. I was doing all those little things and they’ve ended up working out. Crabbey was a great guy to play with. We had some great chemistry together. It all ended up with both of us getting called up by the Leafs. I feel like my game has been coming along well. I think I’ve played not the best defensive hockey I’ve ever played in my life in the last month or so. This was exactly what they stressed on me. Not to worry about the points per se but just make sure my defensive game is coming along and I think it has.

You started the season on the same level with Joey Crabb – same league, same team, same line. Although, he still plays in the NHL and you were sent down. What does he have that you don’t?

He’s a bit different type of player. I think they’ve projected him to be on a lower role – 3rd or 4th line. With the limited ice-time he’s been getting there I think he’s been playing unbelievable. He’s got everything they’ve asked. He’s a great player and he deserves to be up there. They told me they want me to take some more time to develop and play some minutes down here. I’m enjoying every second I got here. Hopefully, I’m going to get called up rather sooner than later.

Do you think being sent down is going to help your development? Some people use frustration as a basis to build on.

It’s not as much as frustration… Obviously everyone wants to be up there. But look at the situation – we’re treated unbelievably down here. We got great coaching staff. I’m loving every second being in Toronto whether I’m up with the Leafs or not. It’s been good.

Is it difficult to adjust to the AHL atmosphere after having played in the NHL? It’s probably just a 10-minute drive from Ricoh Coliseum to the ACC, but it’s a different world.

It is. It’s a little bit different style of play. It’s a bit of a change kind of going back and forth. But you get used to it. It’s a learning experience. Coming back from the NHL you definitely got to get used to a different kind of game.

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