Michael Sgarbossa has had his critics. He's too small. He's too soft. A good junior and minor-pro player, but it won't work in the NHL. So they say.

The native of Campbellville, Ontario, could get his chance to prove his critics wrong — just as he has done at every level — Wednesday night at Rogers Arena against the Vancouver Canucks.

Sgarbossa (pronounced "Scar-BO-sa") on Tuesday was called up by the Avalanche from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League, with center Brad Malone being sent back down. The Monsters' leading scorer this season with 16 goals and 36 points in 38 games, Sgarbossa played Monday night in the American Hockey League's all-star game in Providence, R.I. The previous season, with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, he led the league in scoring with 47 goals and 102 points in 66 games.

With such outstanding numbers, it seems shocking that Sgarbossa never was drafted by an NHL team. He was bypassed in two drafts, with the knock against him being size (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) and toughness.