Streit, Tavares Keeping "A" Game in Swiss League
The NHL lockout will be hitting the one-month mark next Monday, sorry to remind everyone. In the wake of the work stoppage, dozens of NHLers have fled overseas, taking refuge in the security and money the various European leagues have offered them.
Among them are some of our own New York Islanders, including Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, and most recently Andrew MacDonald and Rick DiPietro. Two of them, however, have suited up for the same team.
Captain Mark Streit has returned to his hometown of Bern, Switzerland, to play for the town's National League A team, aptly named SC Bern. A week after Streit's signing was announced, Tavares followed suit, and in this interview acknowledged that Streit had a lot to do with his choice.
Bern started off the season slow, but have since improved things with a two-game winning streak, including an impressive win over top-ranked Geneva-Servette HC by a score of 5-1. The roster includes Minnesota Wild prospect Christoph Bertschy, Nashville Predator Roman Josi and Swiss Olympians Ivo Ruthemann and Martin Pluss.
Streit's had a hot hand for Bern, scoring six points in seven games. As for Tavares, he was held scoreless in his first game but roared back to score five points in his last two, including his first two goals in the NLA during Bern's last win over Ambri-Piotta (highlights here).
If you haven't seen Swiss hockey before, you should check out some of the highlights from other games, as plenty of NHLers have found refuge on NLA teams, not just our own. The skill's a little bit lower, the ice a little foggier, but the play is pretty intense -- and it's a nice way to kill time while waiting for the Isles' season to start up again.
SC Bern plays HC Davos on Friday. Davos is tenth in the league with only 11 points, but with Rick Nash back from injury and Joe Thornton (8 points in 8 games) in the lineup, anything's possible. Stay tuned.