Habs fans do not want to see Mike Ribeiro in a Canadiens uniform ever again. The Lisbon Experiment did have its moments, but on far too many nights the kid looked like he was skating in sand, cocky and indifferent. Fans have taken to Guillaume Latendresse because he shows some of the passion they display in the stands. At least he looks like he cares.
So when given the opportunity to draft a young junior scoring phenom from Montreal, fans wonder whether or not they'll be in for Ribeiro Redux. Because if they don't want Ribeiro back, they sure as hell don't want a reincarnation of him. That may be what Montrealers feared with the prospect of the team drafting Angelo Esposito
I recently spoke to a good friend (JR) who has known Espo for a long time. He and other people in hockey have said that Espo has a work ethic. That leaves Mickey "for the love of god someone feed this poor child" Ribs behind in the dust right there. He laced the skates at the age of 3 on a figure skating platform. By the time he was 6, he was too deft on the ice to play with boys his age. He was bumped up and dominated amongst kids several years older than he was. He comes from a hard working family, with sound values. He's a quiet kid with a good sense of respect.
Pete Sampras began playing tennis against 10 year olds when he was 5 and only really started playing people his own age as a teenager. By the age of 16 he was beating grown men to the ground. When you dominate despite being behind in physical development, that means your skill level is so high that it serves to offset any shortcomings that your young age may deliver. That truth lies in the many home videos we've seen of today's stars as children pirouetting around their respective playing surfaces, dazzling the crowd.
So in the spirit of setting the record straight, let us not fall prey to easy temptations and cliche comparisons. It's too easy. Esposito is the young Montrealer, son of European immigrants, that lit it up in junior. In essence, these are the complexities that have fueled such parallels. We are all capable of much more, as knowledgeable hockey fans. Espo being about 20 pounds heavier than the Ribs (you can see the Ribs). Look there for starters. They are not the same.
Should the Habs have drafted the kid. Of course, the brass knew everything we've said about him here and then some. The city would welcome a hometown hero, but that alone is not enough. Montreal fans couldn't care less whether the guy that lifts the Cup is a Tremblay or a Somethingsomethingsomethingov. The enormous hole in the middle on one of the top 2 lines needs to be filled now. There is a flurry of second and third line forwards on this team. AE would probably not have made the team in the face of a few players that now have a year of pro hockey to add to their arsenal (speaking of which, Adios Thierry Henry!).
The two Tits brothers will have to renew a sibling rivalry because they will both be fighting for a spot. Grabovski can grab a place, so can Chipchura.
It seems many teams, for their own reasons passed on Espo. Throwing a #12 pick away simply because you need to refill the Québécois tank flies in the face of the hockey sense that Gainey and Montrealers at large have always admired and stood for.