Isles captain Streit feeling good, ready to roll
by Christian Arnold/Correspondent
SYOSSET, N.Y. – It’s no secret that Islanders captain Mark Streit struggled a bit last season. The Swiss defenseman was coming off a shoulder injury that sidelined him for all of 2010-11 and it was painfully obvious that he wasn’t fully there when he returned last year.
He’ll even admit that.
“After missing a year and a half almost, I came back last year and the first couple of games I was a little nervous,” Streit said after Day 2 of Isles training camp. “I didn’t really have my rhythm. I needed almost 40 games to feel like I did before and have all the confidence on the ice and in the corners defensively and offensively.”
But this season is different. Streit described the difference between this year and last as being like night and day.
During the lockout he played in Switzerland for SC Bern, where he put up seven goals and 19 assists for 26 points in 32 games. It was the ideal situation for Streit, who got to play in front of his family and friends – not to mention stay in game shape for when the NHL lockout did end.
“We had hockey on a regular basis,” Streit explained. “We had our rhythm. We had 30-plus games and practices and the (Swiss) league is pretty good. (There’s) a lot of skating, a lot of room, the big ice, the big surface, and our conditioning must be pretty good. Under the circumstances of a lockout, it was the perfect scenario for me, being at home, being in my hometown and just being able to stay with the family and friends.”
Now Streit is raring to get the season underway and the Isles captain knows his team needs to hit the ground running.
“You know 48 games is going to be a sprint and everybody wants to have a hell of a start,” Streit said. “We have Jersey on Saturday, everybody is really excited, but obviously it’s going to make a big difference. The first 10 games we need to get out of the gate really quick and get confidence for the team, and just overall have a good feeling.”
And for that pesky shoulder, well it’s the last thing on Streit’s mind. “I feel way better now after playing a few games back home. I don’t think about the shoulder anymore,” he said.