The look on Mark Streit’s face was an odd juxtaposition of pride and sheepishness.
The New York Islanders No. 1 defenseman walked into the Nassau Coliseum press conference room moments after General Manager Garth Snow announced that Streit was the 13th captain in franchise history. After applause died down, Streit stood to the left of Snow as a photographer barked orders at the National Hockey League's first Swiss-born captain.
Streit’s enthusiasm was evident as he walked to the podium.
“Being named the captain is a huge honor,” Streit said. “It’s a very big privilege. It’s a big honor. It’s a great franchise [with] a big history, a very storied franchise. There has been many legendary players before [who were] captain of the team like Bryan Trottier or Pat LaFontaine, Dougie Weight, Billy Guerin; so many great players. It’s a big honor, big footsteps to fill. I’m really excited. This is an unbelievable day for me.”
Snow signed Streit to a five-year, $20.5 million free agent contract in the summer of 2008. Entering his fourth season on Long Island, Streit has totaled 27 goals, 78 assists, for 105 points and a plus-six rating in 156 games with the Islanders. Entering his sixth NHL season, Streit has played in 361 games for the Islanders and Montreal Canadiens. He has recorded 214 points (52 goals and 162 assists) in those games and four points (one goal and three assists) in 12 playoff games. Streit has also played in 100 international games (World Championships, Olympics and World Junior Championships) for Switzerland. He had captained Switzerland’s World Championship and Olympic teams.
Streit missed all of the 2010-11 season with a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff suffered in a freak training camp collision with Matt Moulson. Streit showed no ill-effects from the injury and layoff during the practice as he dumped John Tavares to the ice.
“It was Mark. It was a one-on-one drill,” Tavares said. “Mark’s a great player. He has a lot of experience. Missing a year, not playing, not easy to jump back in [but] he’s a guy that has so much talent. If he’s a little rusty at the beginning [of the season] he’ll know how to handle [it]. He’s going to play a big role for us. It won’t take him long to make that adjustment because of what a great player he is. He looks strong out there, he looks comfortable, he’s tough to play against in those drills. To me, he looks right where he should be.”
Now with a “C” on his chest.
Follow Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman for news on all the local NHL teams.
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