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Comfortable in his new home

Colborne is now OK with the move

Milan Lucic celebrates his second goal after slamming a pretty feed from David Krejci past Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson. Milan Lucic celebrates his second goal after slamming a pretty feed from David Krejci past Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson. (Associated Press/The Canadian Press/Chris Young)
By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / December 1, 2011
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TORONTO - It was tough for Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. It was hard for Toronto counterpart Brian Burke.

But when Joe Colborne was traded to Toronto last Feb. 18 in a package for Tomas Kaberle, the person who felt the sting the most was the youngster himself.

“I was pretty disappointed when it happened,’’ Colborne said. “I loved Boston. I loved everything about Boston. You could see they were on a path for a lot of success. It was tough.

“But since I’ve been here, the organization’s welcomed me with open arms. It’s been unbelievable. I love the city. I love the guys, management - they’ve been great to me. I’m pretty happy with where I am now.’’

Last night was the third meeting of the season between the Bruins and Maple Leafs, but Colborne was with the Marlies, Toronto’s AHL affiliate, for the first two. This time, Colborne was up with the big club, where he’s been since Nov. 19.

It was Colborne’s first opportunity to play against the club that selected him 16th overall in the 2008 draft.

“A lot of good memories,’’ said Colborne. “I have Boston to thank for a lot of my development over the past few years.’’

Colborne, centering the third line between Joey Crabb and Matt Frattin, skated 16 shifts for 14:36 of ice time. Colborne didn’t record a shot, and lost seven of 10 faceoffs, looking more like a rookie than a center who had racked up a goal and three assists in his five previous NHL games.

The Bruins were wary of trading Colborne. The former University of Denver star projected to be a top-six forward, either at center or wing. He was a leader during development camps. Last year, in his only training camp with the Bruins, management and the coaching staff liked Colborne’s mature approach.

But Colborne, who will turn 22 Jan. 30, might not have made the varsity roster until next season. The Bruins are deep in the middle. Colborne’s better shot might have been at left wing.

“It’s all speculation now,’’ said Colborne. “They’re deep at center, too. It would have been a tough decision, I’m sure.’’

But trading Colborne was part of doing business for the Bruins in their pursuit of the Stanley Cup. The Leafs needed a young, broad-shouldered presence up front. Zach Hamill wouldn’t have gotten the deal done.

The trade can be considered from two angles. Trading Colborne, a 2011 first-rounder, and a 2012 second-rounder was costly for Kaberle. However, given that the Bruins wouldn’t have won the Cup without Kaberle (11 assists in 25 playoff games), it is a trade Chiarelli would make every day.

For now, it will be Colborne’s job to prove the Bruins paid too much for the Kaberle rental. He only has to look back at last year as motivation.

“It was hard watching, knowing that I could have been up there, watching and being a part of it,’’ said Colborne. “At the same time, you feel happy for them.

“I went through the whole Philadelphia series the year before. I realized how much hard work went into that. Right from management on down, they had one big gut-check. The way they came back and bounced back was pretty neat. I’m happy for the guys.’’

An eye on Seguin

Tyler Seguin entered last night’s game without a point in his two previous matches, and had not gone scoreless in three straight games all season.

“Right now, being the leading scorer on our team, there’s no doubt other teams are paying more attention to him,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “Now he’s got to overcome the challenge of teams playing him harder than maybe they did during the beginning of the season, when they probably didn’t respect him as much as they do now.

“That’s another area he’s going to have to grow in. I have confidence in his personality and his demeanor that he can overcome that.’’

Seguin assisted on Boston’s first goal. During a first-period power play, he slipped a cross-ice pass to Milan Lucic. After Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson hit the deck, Lucic went upstairs to tie the game at 1-1 at 15:08 of the first period.

Spreading the wealth

Every Bruin played 10 or more minutes, with Zdeno Chara leading the charge with 27:25 of ice time. “Every time we win, it’s usually a constant thing in our game,’’ Andrew Ference said. “Going back into last year, that’s the only way we won, when we had a whole team effort. Not necessarily scoring-wise. Just the ability for the coach to roll four lines and have consistency out of every line. It’s no secret that’s an important part of what we need.’’ . . . Tim Thomas (34 saves) completed a perfect month by winning his ninth game in nine starts. Appropriately, Thomas will most likely trim his November moustache instead of shaving it off. Thomas cautioned, however, that a mistake with the clippers could lead to another result. “A lot of times when you trim it, you mess it up,’’ Thomas said. “Then you have to take the whole thing off.’’ . . . Rich Peverley (9 for 11) and Gregory Campbell (8 for 11) submitted excellent performances on faceoffs . . . Chara led the Bruins with six shots on goal . . . Steven Kampfer and Jordan Caron were the healthy scratches.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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