Joe … Who?
On this night, Joe Colborne. That’s who.
“I had chills that entire ceremony,” said Colborne about Joe Nieuwendyk, who was honoured Friday night. “You forget how good he was. The points and stuff. Then they kind of walk you through his career and that was really cool for me. I might’ve felt it a little more than some of the other guys ‘cause he was one of my favourites growing up.
“I was honoured to have been a part of it.”
Way back when, Joe Colborne grew up idolizing Joe Nieuwendyk.
Well, with the man himself in the house, watching from a suite, Kid Calgary got to show off a little himself.
On a night the Calgary Flames organization honoured Nieuwendyk as the second Forever a Flame honoree, his family and a host of former teammates from the ’89 Stanley Cup team on hand to watch his banner lifted to the rafters of the Saddledome, Colborne provided some Joe-inspired dramatics of his own.
Scoring twice in a spirited uprising, Colborne paced the Romper Room Flames to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders.
The last time the Flames dressed eight freshman for a game? Scroll back as far as Dec. 10th, 1996. Among the wide-eyed, apple-cheeked newbies that night? A fella by the name of Iginla.
“We never quit,” said head coach Bob Hartley. “Veterans, rookies … I thought it was a great team effort. The kids played great. We had a great start. The first 10 minutes were great and then we started to turn pucks over. Maybe a little lack of focus and that lasted right to the end of the second period.
“We had a good little talk in the locker-room and the boys got back on their toes. When we work, we’re a pretty solid team. I don’t care how many kids we have in the lineup. It’s all about passion. I’m pretty proud of my boys.”
Nieuwendyk, the former Calgary Flames’ captain, has often spoken of his early days in this organization, of being part of a championship team that had been carefully built, of a group of young players that grew together into something exceptional.
The current edition, to no one’s surprise, has a ways go to. But Friday they showed a lot of moxie.
“We’ve done that a few times this year,” said Colborne. “We weren’t happy with the way we played, especially in the second period we got outworked. That’s not what we stand for. Give the coaches credit. They came in and kinda motivated us a little bit, you could say.
“Laddy (Ladislav Smid) stood up. Gio (Mark Giordano) stood up. And when those guys speak, you listen.”
Up against a John Tavares-less, Thomas Vanek-less Islanders contingent that had not only been on the job the night before, but taken to overtime in doing so (losing 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers), the young Flames surged back from 3-1 down.
Colborne started the renaissance, slotting the carom of a missed Mark Giordano shot behind Nilsson. Then rookie Sean Monahan, dragging a nifty pass from T.J. Galiardi out from behind the net, equalized it 3-3.
Colborne then potted the winner, tipping a Giordano shot home for the winner.
Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgejohnsonCH
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