Swiss v USA - 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Semifinals

It’s finally here. With the Olympics getting under way and the hockey starting soon, it’s time to roll out our preview of each team between now and puck drop. May the best team win.

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The basics

The Swiss national hockey team is currently ranked 7th in the world by the IIHF. They’re sporting eight NHL players on their 25-man roster, are coached by Sean Simpson, and finished eighth in 2010 at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.swiss-2

Member Since November 23, 1908 (founding nation)
Total Players 26,466
Male Players 11,476
Junior Players 14,082
Female Players 908
Total Referees 40
Indoor Rinks 158
Outdoor Rinks 29
Nation Population 7,996,026
President Marc Furrer
Men’s World Ranking 7
Women’s World Ranking 5

Group

C, with the Czech Republic, Sweden and Latvia.

Roster

GOALTENDERS NHL Team
Jonas Hiller Anaheim Ducks
Reto Berra Calgary Flames
Tobias Stephan
DEFENSEMEN  
Severin Blindenbacher
Raphael Diaz Montreal Canadiens
Philippe Furrer
Roman Josi Nashville Predators
Mathias Seger
Mark Streit Philadelphia Flyers
Julien Vauclair
Yannick Weber Vancouver Canucks
FORWARDS  
Andres Ambühl
Matthias Bieber
Simon Bodenmann
Damien Brunner New Jersey Devils
Luca Cunti
Ryan Gardner
Denis Hollenstein
Simon Moser
Nino Niederreiter Minnesota Wild
Martin Plüss
Kevin Romy
Reto Suri
Morris Trachsier
Roman Wick

Biggest names

Mark Streit, Jonas Hiller. If we go farther than that we’re gonna start to stretch the definition of “big names,” methinks. Though, there is a “Bieber” on the team. I suppose that one’s fairly well known.

Depth

They may only have eight NHLers, but the team is deeper than that lets on. A handful of their players that don’t meet the “current NHL player” definition touched the league, and numerous others play in Europe’s top leagues.

Strengths

The Swiss are a nice skating, fairly young team that’s boasting a top four of Mark Streit, Roman Josi, Rafael Diaz and Yanick Weber. I realize that’s not pull-your-hair-out amazing or anything, but it’s good enough to elevate their team from the bottom third of the teams in the tournament. Nino Niederreiter and Damien Brunner headline the group of forwards, and if the team is going to have a real shot at being anywhere near the medals in this tournament, they’re going to need a lot from those two.

Their biggest strength of all is in net. Jonas Hiller is an above average NHL goaltender, and in a tournament where you only need a couple games of overachieving to be viewed as a success, he gives them a shot to steal a few.

Weaknesses

They can’t hang in terms of elite talent with the top few big dogs – for example, Russia’s trotting out Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and Malkin up front, and I just brought up Damien Brunner and Nino Niederreiter. If that happened in a shinny game you’d throw the sticks back to center and re-pick. They can’t hang in terms of depth either – Canada just picked up an injury replacement who would immediately be Switzerland’s best forward. And, they’ll likely struggle to create offense against some of the best d-men in the world.

Route to the Olympics

Rob the Hockey Guy explains their recent history here:

Switzerland finished 8th in Vancouver and were eliminated by the United States in the quarterfinals. Switzerland’s last medal was a bronze all the way back in 1948. Switzerland is a hockey nation on the rise. They beat Canada and the Czech Republic in the 2006 Olympics. In 2010, it took a shootout for Canada to beat them. In the World Championships this year, the Swiss won the silver medal.

(Check out Rob at VanCityBuzz)

Prediction

While we’re more used to teams like the Czech Repbublic and Slovakia being the dark horses that come through with upsets, this year its the Swiss who have a roster that could annoy some of the top clubs. I have them finishing eighth, but don’t sleep on ‘em.

Schedule

Times are GMT+4, (MSK – Moscow Standard Time)

Wednesday, February 12th: LATLatvia 21:00 SwitzerlandSUI
Friday, February 14th: SWESweden 16:30 SwitzerlandSUI
Saturday, February 15th: SUISwitzerland 21:00 Czech RepublicCZE

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Other Previews

Canada

Sweden

USA

Russia

Finland

Czech Republic

Slovakia

Norway

Latvia

Austria

Slovenia

Comments (1)

  1. Raphael Diaz is a Vancouver Canuck now.

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