Hockey Canada

Esposito has high hopes in fourth junior camp

{eot} Staff
12/12/2008 6:33:05 PM
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Angelo Esposito has been through this before - three times, in fact. Invited back for a fourth chance to crack Team Canada's lineup for the world junior championship, Esposito is hoping for the best.

"Obviously I'm nervous," he told TSN. "But that's normal. I'm just going to go out there and leave the rest behind."

Coach Pat Quinn is giving Esposito a clean slate.

"He just wants to be a good player and making this team would be a step for him in his own mind, for sure," Quinn said.  "...I'm glad he's here. People that give up trying to do things you don't want around anyway."

Esposito was not invited to the team's summer development camp, but Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray said the Montreal Rocket star had earned his ticket to the final evaluation session.

"He earned it - the only way to describe it," Murray told TSN. "Last year Angelo wasn't one of our stronger players.  He just looked out of sorts. It was really clicking for him.

"The more you watched him it became obvious he is one of the best 38 guys and should be here, and we hope he is capable of grabbing a spot.

"I'm here to earn my spot and win a gold medal," Esposito said. "And that's all I wanted to do and that what I'm here for."

The players are pulling for Esposito, too.

"It takes a lot of nerve," said goaltender Tyson Sexsmith.  "Getting relased three years in a row is a hard bullet to bite and I think he got a lot of guts coming back here... I think it would be nice for him to crack the lineup."

Tyler Cuma agreed.

"Hopefully he gets a crack," Cuma told TSN. "Getting rejected once is bad enough - having it three times - I couldn't imagine what he is going through. Hopefully, the fourth time around he gets his chance.

"A lot of guys would be down on themselves - kinda feel like they are the joke of the crew - it shows a lot of courage and determination."

Esposito has one thing going for him at this point - he's healthy and taking part in practice on Team Red's second line.  Forward Matt Calvert did not take part in practice Friday due to a back injury. He was slated to skate on Team White's third line.

Canada plays a Red and White intersquad game tonight.

Team Red Practice Lines

Benn - Tavares - DiDomenico
Esposito - Cormier - Tyrell
Kane - Nash - Arniel
Della Rovere (extra forward)

Hickey - Teubert
Smith - Goloubef
Wiercioch - Pietrangelo


Team White Practice Lines

Boychuk - Hodgson - Eberle
Duchene - Kadri - Ennis
Hall - Sonne - Schenn
Calvert (will not play due to back injury)

Subban - Ellis
Cuma - Myers
Aulie - Hamonic


With files from Brent Wallace

Angelo Esposito (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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