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Streit's split personality

Saturday, 02.02.2008 / 5:52 PM / News
canadiens.com
Through only 52 games this season, Streit has already matched his career high with 36 points so far in 2007-08.
MONTREAL – Seeing Mark Streit’s name end up on the scoresheet once was a pleasant surprise, but now it’s almost become routine.

Longtime mere spare part in head coach Guy Carbonneau’s arsenal, Streit has since become a valuable asset.  His goal and assist against the Islanders was further proof of that.

“Mark is taking advantage of any opportunity he’s given,” said Carbonneau, who as he sometimes does, dressed the Swiss defenseman as a forward against the Islanders. “He’s never come into my office to complain about how he was being used. Mark is a player who can adapt to any situation thrown his way, whether on defense or up front.”

Despite leading a double life with the Habs, Streit has quietly muscled his way into a tie with Saku Koivu with 28 assists and, with over a third of the season to go, he has already matched his career high with 36 points.

“Sure I prefer playing defense since I’m more comfortable there,” explained Streit, now riding a three-game point streak with five points over that span. “Making the switch from forward to defense is easier when the team is playing the way we are right now. It’s tougher when the opponent starts putting on extra pressure, but we managed to hold them off today.”

Never knowing where he’ll line up for any given game has become a way of hockey life for the 30-year-old defenseman, who is settling quite nicely into his status as the Habs’ switch hitter.

“I’m enjoying my role and I just try to do my best to help the team when it’s my turn to get out there,” said Streit, the game’s second star on Saturday afternoon. “It’s great to get all the time I do on the power-play, but the important thing for me is to keep things simple. That way it’s easier for me to adjust to any situation.”

While Streit is busy making his coach’s life easier, he’s also complicating the lives of fantasy players everywhere, who are left scratching their heads about how to classify him. But that’s their problem.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com