Sunday, May 1, 2011

Team Canada's Mario Scalzo

Team Canada's roster for the 2011 World Hockey Championships is peppered with some established stars such as Rick Nash, Jason Spezza and Dion Phaneuf as well as great youngsters like Jeff Skinner, John Tavares, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle and Alex Pietrangelo. And then there's Mario Scalzo.

26 year old defenseman Scalzo is the only player on Team Canada without NHL experience and has played the last three seasons in Europe. In fact he led his German League, Mannheim Eagles squad in scoring this past season with 32 points in 51 games. This is a Mannheim team that also had ex-NHLers Craig MacDonald, Niko Dimitrakos and Steven Reinprecht on the squad.

Scalzo was undrafted but played three years in the AHL with the Iowa Stars and Norfolk Admirals, scoring 33, 25 and 29 points before heading overseas. The native of St.Hubert scored 68 points in the QMJHL with Victoriaville in 03/04 before being traded halfway through the next season to Rimouski for their Memorial Cup run. His teammate there of course was Sidney Crosby. After producing 30 points in 39 games before the trade he exploded for 44 points in 23 games with the Oceanic.

Scalzo has averaged almost 13 minutes of icetime over the first two matches for Canada, least among defensemen and is plus three with two helpers. However, the arrival of Carlo Colaiacovo perhaps puts any additional playing time for Scalzo in doubt. The fact remains however, Mario Scalzo has indeed played for Team Canada.

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