Colborne gets the call

Joe Colborne was called up to the Maple Leafs from the AHL Marlies. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency Files)

Joe Colborne was called up to the Maple Leafs from the AHL Marlies. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency Files)

DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:03 PM ET

TORONTO - The Marlies’ loss will hopefully be the Maple Leafs’ gain.

By adding 6-foot-5 forward Joe Colborne to their lineup against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, the Leafs have now pilfered the AHL club’s top two goal scorers.

Colborne was to be reunited with his Marlies linemate Joey Crabb against the Capitals. Before being called up to the Leafs, Crabb had collected seven goals and 15 points in nine games with the Marlies and still stands as their No. 2 goal scorer. Colborne, meanwhile, had 10 goals and 19 points in 13 games and led the AHL club in both goals and points.

The 28-year-old Crabb spoke highly of the 21-year-old rookie from Calgary after the Leafs’ morning skate on Saturday.

“It was a blast playing with him (on the Marlies),” Crabb said. “We had a lot of chemistry and were playing really well. He’s just a total package. He has good size and skill, and he can pass the puck and skate so it’s good to get him up here.”

KOMISAREK OUT MONTHS

It might be cold and flu season, but it’s the injury bug that has hit the Leafs hardest.

Coach Ron Wilson announced after the team’s morning skate that defenceman Mike Komisarek, injured Thursday night blocking a shot in the third period against the Nashville Predators, will miss eight weeks with a broken arm and requires surgery. Komisarek joins forwards Matthew Lombardi, also hurt in the Nashville game, Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Colby Armstrong, Mike Brown and goaltender James Reimer in the infirmary.

But defenceman Luke Schenn says the Leafs can’t use the injuries as an excuse.

“It’s a good opportunity for the guys to step up,” Schenn said. “That’s the way you’ve got to look at it. I mean, you’re not going to start feeling sorry for yourself. Obviously it’s nice to have your regular lineup in all the time … but other guys get an opportunity that they otherwise might not have had.”

COLBORNE’S BIG STEP

While his Marlies teammates were playing their first game in Toronto in 24 days earlier Saturday, Colborne was set to play his first game with the Leafs since a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on the final day of last season.

Colborne picked up an assist in that game and logged 18:41 of ice time.

Colborne said he wasn’t that nervous about making his return to the lineup in front of a Hockey Night in Canada audience.

“I got my first one out of the way last year but they’ll be some nerves, but nowhere near as bad as last year,” Colborne said. “I just want to show I can compete at this level … This is a big step and hopefully I can take it from here.”

Colborne said he found out about being added to the Leafs lineup late Friday night after the bus ride home from Rochester, N.Y., where the Marlies beat the Americans 2-1.

BACK TO DEFENCE

Speedy Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner got a taste of playing on the wing against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, and while Wilson said “he did all right” don’t expect the coach to be moving the 21-year-old between the two positions very often.

“That’s what I did in my career (switching positions) and it gets confusing after a while,” Wilson said. “It can really screw around with your mind. It’s nice to have that ability but you rather commit to one position. But he’s young enough to handle it to stay in the lineup and get some minutes in. If I told him he was a goalie tonight he’d put the pads on and play.”

While that’s not going to happen expect to see Gardiner logging a lot of minutes on the blue line.

“When we’re down and we go to four D, you’re going to see Jake on the ice a lot.”

LOOSE LEAFS

Defencemen Dion Phaneuf and John-Michael Liles were sporting retro Blue Jays caps in the dressing room after the morning skate to show support for Toronto’s MLB team. The Jays unveiled their new uniforms at the Rogers Centre on Friday and the new duds are a clear homage to the glory days of the franchise when Toronto won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993 … Speaking of Liles, the Leafs have announced the creation of the Liles Buds program. Students in Grade 1 through Grade 8 who are currently enrolled in any school in the GTA who perform an uncommon act of kindness, a good deed or act against bullying in their school are eligible to be a Liles Bud. Monthly winners will have the opportunity to meet the defenceman, attend a pre-game morning skate and a game. Two winners will be selected by Liles for a game in each month from December through March.


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