Interview with Penguins prospect Patrik Bärtschi

By Tim Seaman

Switzerland is well known for its chocolate and secret bank accounts, but in
the near future it might be known as the home of Patrik Bärtschi as
well.  Bärtschi, the seventh round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2002
Entry Draft, has already shown an excellent early return.  As an
18-year-old in his second season as a pro in the Swiss senior league Bärtschi
scored 37 points (21 goals and 16 assists) in forty one games.  He also led
the 2003 World Junior Championships in scoring with 10 points (6 goals and 4
assists) in six games, and played on the Swiss National Team in the World
Championships as well.  Hockey’s Future recently caught up with him.

HF: Who was your biggest influence as a hockey player?
PB: Definitely my father. He also played for the national team. He has helped me
a lot.

HF: Is there a player you pattern your game after?
PB: Teemu Selanne. I like him, I’ve seen him play. I would’ve liked to play
against him [in the Worlds], but we didn’t play against Finland.

HF: Do you see yourself as a goal scorer or a playmaker?
PB: A scorer. I love to shoot the puck. It’s an easy game, every shot is a
possibility to score.

HF: What is the best aspect of your game?
PB:  My hockey sense, to be at the right spot at the right time.

HF: Is there an aspect of your game that needs improving?
PB: All aspects need to improve every day. Work hard and try to improve my
skating.

HF: What did you think when you heard the Penguins drafted you?
PB: I thought it was good. They have a lot of young players on the team, a very
good system, I was very happy with that.

HF: What do you think about the Penguins having to trade away many of their
established players and go with a very young team?
PB: We have the same thing here in Kloten. They had a great team about five
years ago, they won four championships, after that the money was lost. Now we
have a very young team and I really like it. There is a good spirit, it is great
to play with young guys.

HF: Tell us a bit about the World Juniors.
PB:  It was a good tournament for me, but I would rather have reached the
final round with the team.  That would be more important than winning the
scoring title.  Personally it was pretty good to me, I had a good line,
great guys in there. So personally it was tough, a bit disappointing for the
team.

HF: You signed a new contract recently, tell us about that.
PB: From now on it’s two years, it’s because of my coach. He also signed a
new contract and I love to work with him.  It’s good for my development. 
It’s no problem to get out of the contract to go to America.

HF: Anything else Penguin fans should know about you?
PB: It’s definitely my goal to come to Pittsburgh and play for the city. 
I have not heard that much from Pittsburgh yet, but I hope to get into contact
with them and get my chance.

HF: One more question, have you ever thought about joining the Swiss Guard?
PB: (laughs) Yeah… Switzerland, watches and chocolate, right?