CALGARY, AB -- A couple of years ago, it appeared Joe Colborne's offensive game hit a rough patch.
He had a great start to the 2011-12 campaign with the Toronto Marlies (AHL), recording 11 goals and 23 points in the first three months of the season, and earned himself a call-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs in November, registering 1 goal and 4 points in his 9-game stint.
But in the second half of the year, his offensive numbers started to slide. He wasn't scoring - he failed to post a single goal in his last 30 games of the year - and was always looking to pass rather than shoot the puck.
As it turns out, Colborne had torn ligaments in left wrist, affecting rotation and overall motion, and was faced with the decision of playing through the pain or shutting himself down for the season.
Wanting to help his squad, Colborne opted for the former.
"We decided I was just going to get cortisone shots and try to battle throughout the rest of the year. In order to keep it kind of quiet, we weren't telling the media anything. But when my production dripped, they started to get one me. We just decided to keep trying to battle through it."
In the post-season, he played with a broken finger on his left hand and during one game, he was slashed so hard that his finger nearly came off - his finger was barely attached when he took off his glove at the bench. He ended up dressing for 15 playoff games in 2012, somehow managing to score 2 goals and 6 assists despite his maladies, before the Marlies fell to the Norfolk Admirals in the Calder Cup Finals.
When he went in for surgery that summer, it was discovered he had also broken a bone in his left wrist and had played through that as well. He was sidelined for a big chunk of the summer as he recovered, severely limiting his training.
"It's frustrating. I gained a lot of respect for the guys who had to go through some knee surgeries and shoulder surgeries. It's not an easy path to come back from but I felt it was a learning experience and now that I'm back, and was able to have a good summer working out and finally being healthy, I'm ready to be a full-time contributor."
The forward was very cautious with his rehab last year, making sure to be patient and not put too much stress on his left wrist in order to prevent further issues from popping up. He was able to get himself back to 100 percent and made up for the dreadful summer of 2012 by working his tail off this past year.
"The fact that I've had a good summer under my belt and and the confidence I've gained playing in the playoffs last year and playing with some of the high-intensity games down the stretch, hopefully I'll be able to continue where I left off and just help the team produce and help the team get back on a winning note."