BERNE – He’s one of the most wanted men at PostFinance Arena in Berne. The Swiss NHL All-Star Mark Streit often goes through marathon media sessions before he can get out of the arena. Nevertheless, the New York Islanders defenceman took some time to answer some of the questions from IIHF.com users in our Fan Q&A.
Kathleen Lavoie, Quebec City, Canada: What is the secret to your fantastic shot from the blueline? Is there anything specific about it you care to share?
I can't reveal this (laughs). Actually, it’s just practising. I’ve always been working on it and I still do. Your shot can always become harder and more precise.
Alexis Bonvin, Geneva, Switzerland: When you play with "Mark Streit" in a hockey video game, how is the feeling? Does it make you realize what you have achieved?
Yes, sure. I can realize it in a video game, or when I see replays on TV. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and think about what I’ve achieved. And I really enjoy playing in the NHL, having a big role on the team, and playing at home in the World Championship.
Marco Torri, Lugano, Switzerland: When you play against other Swiss guys in the NHL, do you have any fun exchanges with one another?
No, it's not that frequent that I see a Swiss skater in the NHL, but maybe I'll give a wink to our goalies.
Joyce Phallon, Middle Island (New York), United States: How different is it playing for your country in your country than playing in New York for the Islanders?
Hockey in Europe with the larger rinks is completely different. It takes some time to adjust. The atmosphere here is also sensational, especially with all the flags.
Joyce Phallon, Middle Island (New York), United States: Is it tough for you to join the national team without preparation?
No. I had a one-week rest. Just adjusting to the large rink and the new team is a bit difficult, but it’s getting better with each game.
Gergely Rajnai, Budapest, Hungary: How difficult is it to motivate yourself for the World Championship after the season ended with a bad outcome for the New York Islanders?
Precisely because we were disappointing, I’m looking forward to this highlight. It’s not difficult to be motivated for a World Championship in your native country.
Jamie Neugebauer, Waterloo (Ontario), Canada: What is the biggest difference between your role on the Swiss national team and your role on the New York Islanders? Which do you find more challenging?
The roles are similar, but to be with the Islanders is like a daily business. Here, it’s different with the rink size, style of hockey, and tactics, but it’s getting better day after day.
Jeff Streit, Cambridge (Ontario), Canada: Can you please tell us what you find different about the NHL and the Swiss league, and what do you like best about each one?
The NHL is more intense and more physical, particularly because of the smaller ice rink. The (Swiss) NLA involves more skating, and it’s rather technical. The atmosphere in the arenas in Switzerland is sensational. But in the NHL you play with the best players in the world and the way the league is run is also very different. It’s very professional.
Jaroslav & Yvette Homolka, St Catharines (Ontario), Canada: What has been the key factor in the phenomenal rise of the Swiss hockey programme?
The foundation of all that is the junior programme and it’s very good, but it can still be improved. You have to set your sights on the top nations.
Kaido Kariste, Tartu, Estonia: What do hockey players eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
At breakfast, I enjoy Birchermüesli while I’m in Switzerland. I also eat two fried eggs, some bread, and orange juice. For lunch and dinner, we usually have a buffet and I eat meat, chicken wings, pasta, vegetables, and salad.
Sergio Caluori, Wolfwil, Switzerland: Will you finish your career with your first club, SC Bern?
I don’t know yet where my career will end. That’s something I can’t plan. Right now, I'm enjoying my time in North America. But playing for SC Bern could be special.
Jean-Philippe Lebeau, Montreal, Canada: They say in Montreal that your compatriot Yannick Weber could become the “new Mark Streit”. What do you think about his chances?
I know him as a player. We met at the Montreal camp, and also while practising in Switzerland, as he’s also from SC Bern. He’s very talented. He has a good shot and the right attitude.
Udo Bauer, Basle, Switzerland: What do you like most about having Ralph Krueger as your coach? And have you ever read his book?
No, I haven’t read it. But he’s very communicative. He speaks a lot with people and that’s important. Everything has to be subordinate to success.
Tristan Müller, Bad Tölz, Germany: Do you prefer to play as a defenceman or forward?
I’m a defenceman with all my heart and soul. I only played forward in Montreal because I had to.
Marek Rudziak, Bytom, Poland: What was the real reason why you left Montreal? Isn’t this the best city in the world to play in?
Of course it’s a good city, but they didn’t offer me a contract.
Ari Lepisto, Lahti, Finland: Who’s the funny guy on your team?
Usually it’s Paul DiPietro but he’s not here. Now... maybe Martin Plüss.
Urs Cathomen, Solothurn, Switzerland: What do you think about Martin Plüss? Could he play in the NHL?
He has the potential, but after he established himself in Sweden, he has opted for Switzerland.