A 33-1 favorite. Those are the odds that have been given to Team Switzerland to win Olympic gold in this year’s ice hockey tournament. Not amused by the ranking, Team Switzerland is full of NHL talent all over their roster, and when the puck drops for their first game with Team Latvia on Wednesday, be sure to expect them to prove to the world why 33-1 is an unfair assessment of the talent level on their squad. With nine total NHL players on their roster, one of those players brings some different things to the table when compared with the others.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Mark Streit arguably brings the best skill and personal character to Team Switzerland. At a whopping 205-pounds, Streit brings a physical presence that’s hard to match. As solid of a defensive player as he is, Streit is probably most known for his ability to shoot from the blue line. It’s difficult to find more than a dozen guys who can produce offensively quite like Streit. As a matter of fact, he’s ranked within the NHL’s top 15 defenseman in points for each of the last three years.
Streit also possesses quite the travel experience. He’s played on countless teams in countless leagues, but the most valuable asset to his team hopping is that he’s already been with Team Switzerland three times. Having already played in the Olympics in 2002, 2006 and 2010, Streit knows the pressures of the games. With that being said, he’ll be able to mentor some of the younger players who are playing in the Olympics for the first time in their careers.
It isn’t going to be a pony ride for Streit and the rest of his teammates by any means. They will have to play a Czech Republic squad that can always be pesky and also have to deal with Team Sweden in their group. If they’re able to enter each contest with the right mindset, Team Switzerland might be able to upset their group. The skill level is there. They just have to be prepared mentally.