Pittsburgh Penguins training camp is in full swing.
It couldn’t come soon enough for Angelo Esposito.
The team’s first-round selection has been eager for this camp ever since the Penguins called his name at June’s NHL Entry Draft in Columbus.
“I have been here for the last two weeks and I have gotten to know some of the guys,” he said. “I am just happy that camp finally started and I am just having fun out here.”
Esposito, a talented young center, was happy to get out on the ice to show his skills to the Penguins. And, he was elated to just be able to skate and compete at a high level after a groin injury plagued his preparation for the past month. The injury forced him to sit out the Super Series between the Canadian and Russian national junior teams.
“It’s my first time skating this hard in about a month. Obviously, it’s a tougher atmosphere here,” he said. “I am having fun and moving around and happy I am feeling better.
“I wouldn’t say my groin is 100 percent, but I am ready to play.”
Esposito certainly proved that as he displayed some of his world-class skill in the team’s opening scrimmage on a penalty shot goal.
“Yeah, obviously to get a goal like that or make a hit or do something in a game was nice. When I scored that goal, I was probably a lot less tense,” he said. “I skated with Max Talbot and Adam Hall – two veteran guys who are showing me the ropes and I am just following along. Those two guys gave me a lot of help.”
Fortunately for Esposito, he was able to get a solid summer of work in before his groin injury.
“Most of the summer, I was working out. I worked out for a good two months and then I hurt my groin, so I was out for a little bit there,” he said. “I got a pretty good summer in, though.”
He plans on preventing any further problems by working to strengthen the muscle.
“I just strengthen it by stretching and make sure I am getting stronger every day,” he said. “Everything is going well. It’s been progressing.”
In the meantime, Esposito is going to work hard on and off the ice in training camp.
“I just hope to get experience. I am just here to have fun and enjoy myself. If I make the team, I make the team. If I don’t, I will go back to juniors having learned a lot from this camp,” he said. “I am not here to save the team, they already have five or six guys to do that. I just come in here and play my game and learn as much as I can.”