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The Official Site of the Montréal Canadiens

Spotlight on... Mark Streit

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

Forward? Defenseman? Regardless of which position he's playing, Mark Streit has certainly made a name for himself in 2006-07, setting career highs across the board. Get to know more about the 29-year-old Swiss native, who has become the "jack of all trades" for the Canadiens this season.

Who is your role model/idol and why? A guy I'm impressed with is Roger Federer. He went from being an average, 19-year-old player to dominating the whole tennis world. How he improved and how he changed his game, his personality on the court, that's very impressive to me.

You've played forward and defense this year. When Cristobal got injured, did you wonder if you would be asked to strap on the goalie pads? (laughs) This year was the first time I've ever been a forward. It's been entertaining and definitely a challenge. I like it. It gave me the chance to learn a different position and helped my game. Maybe after a few more practices, I'll give goaltending a shot.

When you switch between the two positions, how much do you have to remind yourself which position you're playing? The game in Pittsburgh when Sheldon was ejected, I had started as a forward and had to move back. The first couple of shifts on defense, I had a little trouble orientating myself. (laughs) There were some small things I had to get used to again but overall, it's easy to adjust.

You wear no. 7 for the Swiss national team and no. 32 here. How did you choose those numbers? My whole career I've worn number 7 but obviously that wasn't available here. I wore 32 when I first came over to North America, back in the 1999-2000 season. That was given to me. Then I went back to Switzerland, wore 32 and won the championship that year, so it became sort of a "good luck" number.

What question do you get asked the most? This year, it would have to be "What position are you playing tonight?" (laughs)

When Swiss media comes to Montreal, what do they ask you the most? They ask me a lot of questions, actually. They mostly ask about the differences between playing here and playing in Switzerland.

What's surprised you the most about Montreal? Probably how much the fans support the Habs. I've never been in a hockey city like this.

Do you like to cook and if so, do you cook? I like to cook, especially since we spend a lot of time on the road. I like to cook salads...although that's not really cooking. (chuckles) When I cook I like to make "rösti," it's a Swiss dish - hash browns, with pieces of meat.

What might people be surprised to learn about Switzerland? That it's not Sweden. (laughs) It's very small but there's a lot of variety to the country - the language, mountains, rivers - there's a little bit of everything and it's all within 3-4 hours.

First concert you went to? U2. I actually saw them here in Montreal. I happened to be on holidays here, back in the summer of 2001, May, I think.

Best concert you ever went to? U2 certainly and Robbie Williams was pretty good too. I saw him last summer.

What artist would you really like to see live? Hmm...probably Bush.

Favorite team to play against and why? I think Toronto. Everyone knows why. (laughs) Both buildings are always sold out, big rivalry and the atmosphere is always great.

Who's your roommate on the road? Plekanec. During my first training camp here, I roomed with him in a hotel. We were both rookies and both ended up making the team so it turned out to be the perfect setup for us. It's a good fit. We have good times together. He's a fun guy, so it's perfect.

As a fan, in what building would you most want to watch a hockey game? Here...a playoff game.

Are you in touch with any former teammates? Randy Robitaille. I played with him in Switzerland. I speak to him every 3-4 weeks or so. I have a lot of names of guys I played with in Switzerland but chances are no one will know them. (laughs)

What's the best gift you've ever received? I was a big Chris Chelios fan growing up and I got his jersey when he was with the Blackhawks. Wherever he played, I always followed his career. I still have the sweater. It was pretty to cool to play against him earlier this year.

What's your biggest pet peeve? Hmm. Nothing really. Although when I'm in a hurry or stressed, traffic or slow-walkers get to me.

Craziest fan encounter? I have a crazy fan back home. She writes me many times...for a quite a few years now. She even follows my career over here. It's pretty crazy.

What city in Switzerland is most like Montreal? Zurich.

What's something you've always wanted to do but just haven't had a chance to yet? I've always wanted to see the Grand Prix here in Montreal. I think I might get that chance this year.

What's your guilty pleasure? Chocolate.

What's your pre-game ritual? I always have my same routine - when I warm up, what I do, what exercises, what kind of stretches and then the way I get dressed too.

What's the first CD or album you bought? A Swiss band called Züriwest.

Who was your first celebrity crush? Kim Basinger.

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