Thread: Switzerland: Swiss hockey players in NHL/AHL
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03-17-2009, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by TheFirstSaviour View Post
You can not argue that the World Junior Championships (both under 18 and under 20) have a huge impact on players' draft rankings and, ultimately, their draft position. Every scouting department, ranking service, and NHL GM pays close attention to what happens during these tournaments, without question.
I wasn't arguing they had no huge impact, quite the opposite actually. I pointed out that, in my opinion, performances at those tournaments have too much weight in the scouting process. As an example, Reto Berra and Leonardo Gennoni have been teammates since for ever, and their learning curves have been mostly similar. They both ended up in the U18 team, and Berra was the hot goalie at the time and got most starts. He was drafted in the 3rd round, while Genoni went undrafted, which I found odd for two very close players. I can understand why the average hfboard poster would be fooled by a player's world championships performance, but an NHL scout should base his opinion on much more than a two weeks tournament.

Originally Posted by TheFirstSaviour View Post
Switzerland were relagated last year and did not participate this year in Ottawa. Ultimately, that reality will have a huge impact on the mentality and the perception of the young players in this country. Winning breads winning. If a bunch of under 18 year-olds experience success at a young age at an international level, they will carry it with them throughout their careers.
A relegation was bound to happen with the U20 system leaving no room for a team like Switzerland to have a bad game. That's why I would argue for increasing the number of teams to 12, but that's a whole other debate. I'm more worried about the stagnation that happend since the U20 won bronze and the U18 won silver. Switzerland needs to regulary beat a top team and get out of the 7th/8th place zone.

Originally Posted by TheFirstSaviour View Post
Pyschologically, IMO, many Swiss players and fans do not have a belief that they should be in the top tier of international hockey, for some reason. This is despite recent wins over the Czechs and Canadians in Italy, the Swedes in Quebec, and the relative ease at which Zurich won the Champions' League this season. How can you change this belief?
You have a point here. How Zurich's win is regarder as such a huge upset is completely beyond me. I mean, a Swiss club team beating Swedish, Finnish or Czech opposition is hardly an upset, and beating a Russian one is far from being the kind of "once in a lifetime" event it is made to be. Still, Swiss fans will complain about the usual quarter final exit at the world championships. Go Figure...

Originally Posted by TheFirstSaviour View Post
Yes, it does come from the grass roots. But the system is strong which is exemplified by the successes that I have already mentioned. Swiss hockey is good.

I realize that repeating the Bronze you won in the 1998 WJC will not be easy, and when I suggested that you win two or three medals on the trot I wasn't trying to imply that it is something that is going to happen immediately. But from my perspective (and I am by no means an expert having only lived here for one year), and in a way you have reinforced it, these tournaments mean very little to the Swiss. Until they do mean something, you will continue to struggle.
You are right, those youth tournaments mean nothing to most fans (which you should not consider a trait of Swiss hockey, but rather of European sport). However, coaches consider them an important part of the development system, but the feeling I had when I took part in coaching clinics is that they are a part of the process rather than an end. This, in my opinion, is the right approach because you don't build top notch U18 players out of nothing, you need to start the process way earlier.

Originally Posted by TheFirstSaviour View Post
Can you beat the World at a professional level? Yes, you have shown glimpses of it. Can your kids compete with with the best at an amatuer level? Apparently not, based on the evidence at hand.

This is obvious to scouts and professional analysts in the hockey community as well.
Switzerland was once considered better in youth hockey than at the pro, when they regularly played the quarter finals of the U20/U18 worlds but had trouble with Germany, Belarus and the like at the pro level, so I don't think your quote is that accurate.

And one thing you have to remember is that youth tournament favors teams with the highest player depth, that's the reason Canada, Russia and the US usually perform better than Sweden, Finland or the Czech Republic.

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