Colaiacovo back in Leafs lineup for first time since last January

Publish date:
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

"Yeah, after the skate he told me I'm playing hockey again, I'm a hockey player again," the 23-year-old told reporters with a wide grin on his face. It will be his first NHL game since last January, when he suffered a serious concussion in a game against the Ottawa Senators.

"It's been too long," Colaiacovo said. "I wouldn't say worth the wait but I'm definitely ready. ...

"It's good, I'm really happy about it," he added. "I'm going to take it slow, take it one step at a time, hopefully get a win tonight."

The Leafs carry a seven-game winless streak (0-6-1) into Tuesday night's game at Air Canada Centre. Colaiacovo takes Brenden Bell's spot in the lineup.

"I'm not expecting him to go coast-to-coast here tonight," said Maurice. "I'd like him to move the puck quickly, finish his checks from the upright position and get a good feel."

Maurice's crack about checking from the "upright position" referred to Colaiacovo's wild hit on former Senators forward Vaclav Varada in a Jan. 23 game that left Colaiacovo with the concussion after he slammed head-first into the boards and was carried out on a stretcher.

Nearly a year later he's finally back in the lineup.

"I'm more anxious than nervous," said Colaiacovo. "Right now I'm just going to enjoy what I've got to do to get myself ready for the game tonight and feel like playing hockey again."

Colaiacovo had six points (1-5) and four penalty minutes in five games with the AHL Marlies this season before being recalled Dec. 4.


Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson

Fantasy Hockey Preview: Dallas Stars

It’s hard to reach the finals again when a COVID-19 outbreak delays the start of your season and when almost every key player misses significant time due to injury. This time, the Stars are looking for a boost, and you should keep a close on the team's fantasy value.


2022 Olympic Hockey Roster Prediction: Russia

The defending gold-medal champs will have a radically different lineup and much harder opponents. Will their firepower and goaltending cover up the blemishes?

Dmitri Samorukov

Oilers Prospect Samorukov Hopes to Prove He's Ready for NHL

Edmonton have a few good young defensemen in the pipeline, but Samorukov is looking to show why he belongs as a fixture on the Oilers blueline.