|Mark Streit practices with the East All-Stars on Saturday. |
Sunday night was certainly one that Mark Streit
will never forget, as he returned to his former home in Montreal to compete with the best and brightest stars of the National Hockey League. In the end, Streit and the Eastern Conference All-Stars came away with a wild 12-11 shootout victory.
In a typically high-scoring All-Star Game, the Islanders defenseman earned two assists and registered a plus-3 in a game where goals were plentiful.
"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity," Streit said of his All-Star experience. "I am really happy that I got selected and really proud. I enjoyed every second of the this weekend. It was absolutely fantastic."
Streit's first assist came on Zach Parise's second period goal to give the Eastern Conference a 6-2 lead. Streit fed an outlet pass to Martin St. Louis, who dished it over to Parise.
The New Jersey forward's first shot was blocked by Western defenseman Dan Boyle, but got a second attempt with goaltender Nicklas Backstrom out of position and put it behind the fallen netminder.
As the game's lead switched back and forth late in the third period, Streit again teamed up with St. Louis for his second assist of the night.
This time Streit earned a primary assist, dishing a pass over to St. Louis, who fired a wrist shot past an unsuspecting Roberto Luongo to tie the game at 10-10.
Streit, who leads all Islanders with an average of 25:18 of ice time per game, led Eastern Conference All-Stars in ice time through regulation, and thought the fact that the game went to OT was a bonus for the fans.
"I thought people had a lot of fun," said Streit. "You never know in an All-Star Game how people are going to react. You realize it's a hockey town and a hockey crazy city, and both teams were pretty spectacular. At the end, you felt that nobody wanted to lose. We got the win and we’re happy with that."
Overall, Streit finished with 22:29 of ice time, one shot on goal, three takeaways and two blocked shots.
A SPECIAL DAY FOR STREIT
Streit had a day befitting an All-Star on Saturday, as he had the unique opportunity to compete in the Cisco Hardest Shot competition.
The day started at 11 am, as Streit practiced with his Eastern squad teammates in front of more than 20,000 fans. As they introduced the team to the crowd, Streit received a very warm welcome from the Montreal fans.
Later in the day, Streit boarded the bus at 4:45 pm with the rest of his Eastern Conference teammates and headed to the arena where all the players walked a red carpet adjacent to the Bell Centre as they headed to the locker room.
“That was an amazing experience,” said Streit. “The reception was unbelievable and I never signed so many autographs in such a short period of time.”
Prior to the Skills Competition, all of the All-Stars were introduced to the crowd and Mark received one of the more rousing receptions.
“I got a pretty warm welcome from the crowd which surprised me,” said Streit. “It was sweet to hear.”
The Cisco Hardest Shot competition was filled with big shots, such as former teammate Mike Komisarek and defending champion Zdeno Chara. Streit was up first, and fired a shot that registered 98.3 mph on the gun. Ultimately, however, Chara and Nashville’s Shea Weber both broke the century mark and Chara ended up defending his title with an event record 105.4 mph.
“I hit my hardest shot, but unfortunately Chara had a little more power,” said Streit. “It was a lot of fun and I had a really good time.”STREIT STILL A FAN FAVORITE IN MONTREAL
Even though the weather outside in Montreal Friday was cold and snowy, the temperature inside was warm and comfortable wherever Islanders defenseman Mark Streit
The day’s activities began with Streit visiting his old stomping grounds with Swiss National TV, which is following the Islanders All-Star throughout the weekend. The first stop was Café Pesto, a quaint little Italian restaurant just a 5 to 10 minute walk from the Bell Centre. When he first approached the front door it was locked, but once owner Guerrino Massironi saw who was at the door, it couldn’t have opened quicker and warm greetings and memories were shared for a good 30-45 minutes in between tapings with Swiss Television.
The next stop provided one of the more memorable moments of the day when Streit stopped by his old apartment building and surprised a special friend. Ronald Michel, who was busy checking in a tenant’s car, nearly dropped to his knees, before grabbing and hugging Streit—practically lifting him off the ground. Michel is probably the biggest Mark Streit
fan, and explained that it’s because of how Mark is off the ice first.
“Mark is a fine person and class act,” said Michel. “This visit made my day and I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to me seeing him again.”
Streit returned the high praise for Michel.
“He is a very caring and special person and always took care of anything I needed especially when I was away on road trips,” said Streit. “It was great to see him again and it’s always fun catching up. He always used to give me tips on my game.”
It became a chore to leave his old building, because people kept stopping and chatting with him especially Mamy Shahanghi, President of the MBCO sandwich shop right next door to the apartment building. Shahanghi’s reaction was similar to that of Michel’s earlier in the day. He insisted Streit and company to stop in and have a bite.
Mark headed back to the hotel, where he met his parents who flew from Switzerland to see their son, and first ever Swiss player participate in the 2009 NHL All-Star festivities. Click here
to read, "Streit: From NHL Hopeful to NHL All-Star"