Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Esposito injured, out for Super Series

The big countdown is on: just six days until Team Canada and Team Russia clash in a one time, 8 game Super Series. Team Canada is currently in Toronto, having their first practice, and already someone is out of the lineup.

Angelo Esposito, the star centre of the Quebec Remparts, will not be suiting up for Canada for the Super Series. A groin injury will keep him out of competition, and he probably wants to rest up before his very first NHL training camp (assuming he's ready to go by then).

Esposito has a lot to prove to the hockey world. Just over a year ago, he was a rookie on the Memorial Cup-winning Quebec team and projected to be the first overall pick in the 2007 Entry Draft. However, Esposito's sophomore stats were not as impressive as his rookie stats and his stock fell. By draft day this past June, he was projected to be taken 8th or so, and hockey analysts were saying that he might be around for Carolina or Montreal to snatch up in the 11th and 12th spots. Carolina and Montreal went up to the podium - and chose someone else. Amazingly, Esposito was chosen 20th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although thrilled with the idea of joining the Pens, my bet is that Esposito has a burning desire to tear up the NHL and prove to 17 teams that they made a mistake in drafting someone else.

He could have used the Super Series as a first step in proving the world wrong, but he'll have to wait until the Pens training camp to make an impression. I seriously doubt that he'll make the team this year (but then again, they all said the same about Jordan Staal), but he can still put in a good showing before return to Quebec. My guess is that he'll regain his confidence and scoring touch this year in the Q - Patrick Roy will definitely help him out - and we'll be hearing a lot about him at Christmas-time.

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