-- Although Flames nation may have missed out on watching Team Switzerland’s Sven Baertschi
in a majority of world junior action, his positive demeanor about an ill-timed injury speaks volumes about the prospect’s off-ice character.
“It was tough first, I was really excited to come here and play the world juniors. Then you get a hit like that and you’re just out for the whole tournament,” said Baertschi. “It’s kind of frustrating, but on the other side our team did a really good job so I was really excited about that.”
The 2011 first-round draft pick (13th overall) of the Flames was sidelined after he left the ice in the first period on December 28th during a game against Sweden. The IIHF released that Baertschi was dealing with concussion-like symptoms and, as a result, did not play for the remainder of the tournament.
“I feel better. The last couple days I’ve made some progress, I skated yesterday with the team for about 30 minutes and it felt really good out there on the ice,” commented Baertschi, with a wide grin on his face.
Following a 2-1 relegation round loss to the United States in the Switzerland’s final game of the world juniors, Baertschi said he is unsure of the timetable for his return to the Portland Winterhawks.
In 25 games played with the WHL club this season, Baertschi has averaged over two points per game with 54 total (12g,42a).
“It’s always tough with your head. You never know, you have to do some testing first and you have to be 100% sure you want to go out there with the game, contact and everything.”
He was determined not to allow the setback to ruin his overall experience at the world-renowned tournament, conveniently located in the city where he was drafted.
“It’s been great, especially when you come here to Calgary. It’s really exciting to play in front of a huge crowd. Here in Calgary I think everybody was on our side when we played against Russia and then Sweden and today too,” laughed Baertschi.
Though he did admit that one of the hardest moments to watch was the New Years Eve comeback loss against Slovakia, which cost Switzerland a trip to the quarter-finals.
“(I was) really nervous, want to see the guys win. Especially against Slovakia, it’s really tough. You want to be down there to try to help the team. It was a tough loss but after that I think we responded well.”
As for who he enjoyed watching in the tournament, it would be his surname counterpart, Christoph Bertschy.
“There’s another Bertschy. I mean, he’s an outstanding player with a scoring touch and he’s really smart out there. He’s not the guy that plays really physical, he doesn’t really use his size but he uses his brain.”
Overall Team Switzerland went 2-6 in the tournament, pulling out a win in both the preliminary and relegation rounds.Author: Avery Buye