Saturday, December 18, 2010

Speaking of Sven Bartschi, let's meet him too

His team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL).

Position: Left wing, usually on a line with Ty Rattie and Teal Burns, Ryan or Brendan Leipsic.

Hometown: Langenthal, Switzerland.

But he seems much older: Age: 18.

Small but mighty: Height: 5'10".

Maybe it's all that Swiss chocolate he and Nino eat: He leads the team in goals and points. Goals - 21, the most recent of which was the game winner in his last game before he left for Team Switzerland's World Junior training camp. Points - 47. Trailing just behind him is linemate Ty Rattie with 46. In the pre-season, Sven scored 4 goals in a 6 - 2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. Last I saw, he was also leading all WHL rookies in points.

How do you pronounce that again?: Among the numerous mispronunciations of Sven's last name by the announcers at away games: Bar-chi, Barch and Sven's favorite, Bart-ski. For the record: it's Bear-Chee, with a little rolling R like arrivaderci.

He's a little psychic genius too: Last weekend, he correctly predicted that Ty Rattie would get the teddy bear goal in our teddy bear toss because, and I quote, "I can feel it." So naturally, he helped out a little by telling Ty when the big moment came around, "you have to score right now" and then promptly proceeding to assist on the goal. How did he know? "Because that's always how it is with big moments like this."

No cliches allowed: The thing I love best about Sven is that when you interview him, he is a treasure trove of non-cliched, brilliant answers. My personal choice bits:

On a brutal losing game against the Calgary Hitmen: "we weren't hungry enough to score goals" and "you can't score goals from the corner."

On winning in front of his parents when they were in town: "I told my mom I will get some points for you." And that he did.

This is my personal favorite: When I asked him about his personal goals for the season he said, and I quote, "I just hope I get to play a lot this year." Really.

He's the next Nino. I'm telling you, it's all that chocolate and clean air and water in Switzerland: Nino and Sven departed yesterday for Switzerland's World Junior training camp. Look for both to make a splash at the tournament. Sven is also second among all WHL players on the preliminary rankings for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Moral of his story: oregonlive readers will forgive me if they've already seen this on the other blog, but it bears repeating: if you've even met Sven, you know it's easy to be moved by anything he says and does, because it's all brilliant. Behind the great plays and the great quotes is a great player. Get ready hockey world, something very, very special is coming your way.

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