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Mark Streit wants to be the best defenseman in the NHL

Well, don't we all?

My German is rudimentary enough to get me into trouble, so you'll have to rely on a Web translator for a more extended (and inevitably comical) translation. But Mark Streit, while training with local Zurich team ZSC Lions, tells Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that he "wants to be the best defenseman" and he thinks he can lead the Islanders to the playoffs this year.

Bravo to the man for his drive and constant focus on improvement. Could he possibly improve on last year's great season?

The Islanders MVP of last season also talks candidly about being "overwhelmed" when he first stepped into the best league in the world. But over time you lose that "reverence" and now he's thrilled to play against Alex Ovechkin and company, and happy to measure himself against the best as part-defensive stalwart, part-team QB. At 31, he sees his best years ahead of him and looks to 39-year-old Nicklas Lidstrom as a model of steady performance through his 30s.

Later in the article, Streit discusses his summer fitness training, how he's taken "power yoga" for the past two years, and receives an -- ahem -- Thai massage once a week "to loosen the muscles." He'll return to New York at the end of August, when he hopes to attend the U.S. Open and meet countryman Roger Federer for the first time.

Asked whether he will buy a house and move out of (I think this is right) his apartment in Garden City, Streit says nein. "I'm satisfied with my apartment. If I married and had children it would be different, but otherwise no."

Start courting, ladies.