Team Switzerland hockey preview: Getting closer

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Team Switzerland hockey

The 2013 World Championship Runner-Up is on the verge of competing with the big dogs annually. Team Switzerland hockey is looking to medal for the first time since 1948 when they took home bronze. The 2006 and 2010 Olympic teams have been thorns in the Canadians thighs, scoring an upset in 2006 and pushing them to a shootout in 2010.

The Swiss are not in the same preliminary group as Hockey Canada this time, so any upset would have to come in the medal round.

Forwards

Damien Brunner and Nino Niederreiter lead an interesting forward group. The Swiss play a well-balanced two-way game, making the team’s two NHL stars the main scoring threats much like they are in New Jersey and Minnesota, respectively. Simon Moser is the only other forward with experience in North America. He currently plays for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

Defense

Defense is Switzerland’s strength. Mark Streit and Roman Josi combine for a solid offensive-defensive pairing. At age 23, Josi is progressing well for defensive-minded Barry Trotz in Nashville. He should have no problem fitting in defensively in his first Winter Olympics. Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber offer NHL experience, but have limitations that keep them from being serviceable on both ends of the ice.

Goaltending

Anaheim Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller ismthe unquestioned starter in net. Hiller, when healthy, can be a top five goalie in the NHL. If Team Switzerland hockey plan on competing for a medal, Hiller will have to steal points or a win against group favorites Sweden and Czech Republic.

If Hiller were to miss a game, Reto Berra would step in. He has been just okay for Calgary this season, but it is tough to expect much playing behind that terrible defense.

Group C opponents

Sweden, Czech Republic, Latvia

Projected group finish

3rd– 4 points

Final projection

7th  

Follow Jeff on Twitter @sckih_ffej for more sports and entertainment ramblings. Jeff also contributes fantasy advice for The Fantasy Fix.

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