December 13, 2011
Di Giuseppe making case
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Phil Di Giuseppe is fighting an uphill battle, and he knows it.
Showing up at Team Canada’s selection camp as a relative unknown, the Maple, Ont., product has his work cut out for him.
Head coach Don Hay said the NCAA player would need three solid days to have a chance at cracking the roster.
Di Giuseppe came through on Day 1.
“A lot of these guys are from the CHL,” Di Giuseppe said. “They’re highly touted and I’m coming in from the NCAA.
“So I’ve got to work hard.”
Di Giuseppe opened the scoring in the first Red & White game, cutting around a defender, driving hard to the net and then roofing a close-in shot.
“I got that goal and it relieved a lot of pressure,” he said. “Then I just tried to play my game.”
Hay and head scout Kevin Pendergast said the left-winger succeeded in opening some eyes.
“He made a good first impression (Sunday),” Pendergast said. “He certainly knows how to take the puck to the net and score.
“In a lot of cases, one game isn’t good enough. We need to see a couple more.”
Di Giuseppe, who plays for the University of Michigan Wolverines, said he’s aware that he’s not at the same starting line as the rest of the players.
He doesn’t play in the CHL, so the coaching and scouting staff haven’t had a chance to see what he can do.
And he hasn’t been drafted yet.
He has three days to make his case.
“They know a lot of the players who have been drafted, but this is my draft year, so I have a lot to prove,” he said.
“Like the coach said, you have to impress right away. That’s important for me right now.”
One of four returning players, Jaden Schwartz made the successful transition from Colorado College to Team Canada last year and is a lock for this year’s squad.
Calgary product Dylan Olsen (Minnesota-Daluth) also pulled on the Maple Leaf last Christmas.
But there haven’t been many NCAA players on the Team Canada roster over the years.
Pendergast said Di Giuseppe has come a long way in a couple of months.
“In Canada, there’s so many scouts it doesn’t take long for a good player to get on the radar screen,” Pendergast said.
“He’s a kid who has sort of come out of nowhere at Michigan.”