All hail the new King of Switzerland

Tuesday, 25.03.2008 / 10:21 PM / News
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All hail the new King of Switzerland
Mark Streit, the newly-crowned record holder.
MONTREAL -- Records are made to be broken, even those whose records are news to them.

By assisting on Andrei Kostitsyn’s goal against the Bruins on Saturday night, Mark Streit picked up his 42nd assist and 54th point of the season. By doing so, the versatile defenseman/forward from Englisberg hit two birds with one stone.

Streit dusted off the Swiss chapter of the NHL record book to pass fellow countryman Mark Hardy’s benchmarks for assists and points in a season that had both stood for almost 25 years.

Hardy spent 15 years patrolling an NHL blue line with the Kings, North Stars and Rangers. Now an assistant coach with the Blackhawks, his record being shattered was news to him on several levels.

“I didn’t even know I held that record or that I was the only Swiss player to have played in the NHL back in my day,” admitted the now 49-year-old Hardy. “It’s still an honor to have held that record for so long and I’m happy for Mark.”

Considering their age gap, the two Marks have yet to ever meet, but that hasn’t prevented Hardy from admiring Streit’s evolution since he crossed the Atlantic to join the Canadiens in 2005-06.

Mark Hardy, the former Swiss king of the mountain.
“I may not know him personally, but I’ve seen him play and he’s an excellent player,” noted Hardy. “It’s certainly nice to see a player of his caliber come out of Switzerland. He’s been a big part of Montreal’s power-play which isn’t the top unit in the NHL for nothing.”

With six Swiss players currently in the NHL, Hardy knew that sooner or later there would be others following in his footsteps. He only had to be patient.

“I didn’t know how long it would take, but there is finally a solid group of Swiss players in the NHL,” admitted Hardy with a sense of pride. “It’s great to see them doing so well, with Mark, of course, leading the way.”

You can say that again, judging from Streit’s No. 5 ranking for points by an NHL defenseman this season.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com