The whole team has been so great to me and there is a lot of excitement around this team. - Joe Colborne
WASHINGTON, DC – It’s been a jam-packed few days for pivot Joe Colborne.
The 23-year-old, who was acquired by the Flames on Saturday in a deal that sent a fourth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft to the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been trying to make all the necessary adjustments to a new team while feverishly preparing for the upcoming season.
Colborne has hit the ice in Calgary practice silks twice since arriving in Alberta; on Monday, an off day for the rest of the squad, he skated alongside the injured Mike Cammalleri before taking part in a lengthy practice with the team on Tuesday morning.
He has also sat down with bench boss Bob Hartley and the rest of the coaching staff, trying to glean as much information from them as possible before Thursday’s season opener against the Washington Capitals.
Away from the rink, the Calgary, AB native has been connecting with family and friends and sorting out all the details that come with moving.
To call his first few days as a Flame a whirlwind may be an understatement but Colborne is soaking it all in, absorbing the enthusiasm of his new teammates as they prepare to embark on the 2013-14 campaign.
“The whole team has been so great to me and there is a lot of excitement around this team.” Colborne said. “I think it’s a different atmosphere than they’ve had in the past. It’s pretty easy to see a lot of guys want to be here and want to right the ship, get us back to where we’re successful.
“I’m excited to be a part of it.”
A big part of Colborne’s exhilaration comes from the fact he will be taking on a larger role with the Flames than he likely would have with the Leafs this fall.
On Sunday, Flames general manager Jay Feaster stated he felt the forward could slot in nicely as the team’s third line centre but has the requisite skill to slide up and play a top-six role.
Colborne, who managed to get into 16 NHL games as a member of the Leafs organization, also sees himself as being ready to become a regular in The Show. He has worked diligently at using his 6-foot-5, 213-pound frame more effectively and has put many hours into shoring up his defensive zone play to help become a more complete player.
“Out in Toronto, if you had a bad defensive zone, you weren’t playing. Randy [Carlyle] was a big stickler for detail in that way. I think I’ve really brought that part of my game along. I still feel very confident in my offensive side of the puck.
“[Now] it’s just bringing other parts of my game [together]. I think it’s starting to come to fruition.”