Youngsters Impress in NHL; Hockey Canada Work Cut Out

Looking at the calender today, one couldn’t help but notice that Christmas is less than two months away, despite what the malls may have you thinking in a few days.

When observing that Christmas was gaining on us rapidly, one couldn’t also help but notice that the 2008 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships are also less than two months away.

Feeling the excitement already?

Good answer!

Despite the fact that the tournament, which has become a holiday tradition in the homes of many across Canada while the snow falls outside, is so far away, Hockey Canada has its work cut out for when Team Canada has its training camp in mid-December.

The work will be this: Try and fill two of the spots that have been left open by a handful of Canadian players who have managed to stick in the NHL.

Good for them.

Milan Lucic, former Vancouver Giant and now a Boston Bruin, and Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers have impressed their respective clubs enough to stay up for the rest of the season, which has opened the door to under-20 hockey players from Canada to step up come December.

You can’t blame the Bruins and Oilers for keeping these two future superstars because they have shown so far this season that they can play at that level, and both have scored some highlight reel goals and have engaged in some fights as well. Okay, maybe not Gagner, but Lucic has done so in commendable fashion.

Maybe the one guy in the country that wants to prove his critics wrong and step up and fill the vacancies left by Gagner and Lucic is Angelo Esposito.

The talented forward has been cut by Team Canada the last two years for a variety of reasons that do not pertain to his skill set. You can bet that after dropping in the draft (originally thought to be a top 5 pick in 2007) and the setbacks with Hockey Canada, that the Montreal native won’t want to be the first player to step up and fill either of the two spots left by Lucic or Gagner.

Needless to say that when Hockey Canada opens its training camp in December, Esposito will be given the chance (should he be healthy of course) to become a member of Team Canada for the World Juniors. However, there will be others just as willing and eager to gain a roster spot and try and bring a fourth consecutive gold medal in the most prized hockey tournament in Canada.

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One Response

  1. […] thesportscorner Blogged about a good topic today on thesportscorner.wordpress.comThe first paragraph is here: […]

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