There were times, Carlo Colaiacovo admits, when he thought his hockey career might be over.
Ravaged by a combination of bad luck and bad injuries, the concussed Maple Leafs defenceman a year ago wondered if his NHL dreams had been squashed.
"During that time, yeah, it was something I thought about. Fortunately I was able to overcome that," he said.
Not without some growing pains.
Having suffered a concussion against Ottawa in January 2006, Colaiacovo arrived at training camp last September confident in his health and poised to snap up a job on the Maple Leafs blue line.
But on the opening day of camp, the intensity of the workouts left him dizzy, so much so that he needed to be helped off the ice.
Colaiacovo's determination to work his way back is the prime reason that the Toronto chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association selected Colaiacovo as its nominee for the 2007 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded for "perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."
"I didn't know much about the award when they first told me but, after examining it, I'm extremely honoured and privileged," Colaiacovo said "I have a healthy future and, perhaps with this (nomination), I can have closure on all that stuff from the past."
General manager John Ferguson expects Kyle Wellwood to be back in the lineup tonight. Wellwood saw limited action Tuesday because of a nagging ailment "not related from his sports hernia surgery, but on the other side." ... Michael Peca does not expect to be in the lineup until the first round of the playoffs, should the Leafs qualify.