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Moser, Swiss Ready to Surprise in Sochi

By Jason Karnosky

Simon Moser can’t wait for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

There Moser, one of the Milwaukee Admirals’ emerging talents this season who recently earned his first National Hockey League promotion, will join current Nashville Predators teammate Roman Josi on Team Switzerland in Sochi.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I’m always excited to play in these kinds of international tournaments,” Moser said. “It was a great time playing in the 2013 World Championship for the Swiss team, but it will be a lot different playing in the Olympics.”

Moser is certainly no stranger to international play, having competed in the past three World Championships for his homeland. This past spring he helped the upstart Switzerland to a Silver Medal—the highest finish by the Alpine nation since 1935. At the time the Arni native and his Swiss teammates had no idea of the significance of their achievement back home.

“When it was over we were all disappointed because you never know when you’re going to get that chance to play for a gold again,” said Moser, who posted five points (three goals and two assists) in 10 games in Stockholm and Helsinki. “But when we came back to Switzerland and there was like 5,000 fans waiting for us at the airport. It was just amazing.”

Somewhat of a late bloomer, Moser first earned a spot in the Swiss National League A with Langnau in 2007-2008 at the age of 18. After contributing 13 points in his first full campaign (2008-2009) the forward became a force in 2011-2012, racking up 34 points in 50 games and finishing 12th in goals with 18.

“(Simon) is able to play physically and he’s got a good skill set for a big guy,” Admirals captain Scott Ford said of Moser. “He’s able to get in on the forecheck and create some sneaky plays in tight because he does have good stick skills.”

This season Moser made the jump to play hockey in North America, attending Nashville’s training camp on professional tryout agreement. There he took full advantage of the surprising opportunity, nearly earning a spot on the Predators to start the season.

“We wanted to get a pretty good look at him in training camp,” Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton said. “(Simon) came over here with no strings attached, played very well and caught our eye.”

Moser earned a one-year, two-way deal with the Predators and was then sent down to Milwaukee to start the 2013-2014 season. The mature rookie quickly asserted himself as one of the AHL’s premier two-way forwards, playing a style well-suited for the North American game.

“When I was in Switzerland I was playing the same North American style there,” Moser said. “I finish my checks, drive to the net, play hard and try to play a simple game, nothing that’s too fancy. I really didn’t have to change too much coming here, but the game is a little bit quicker on the smaller ice.”

To date Moser has dressed in 40 games with Milwaukee, scoring eight goals and 25 points, good for sixth on the Admirals. The 24-year-old’s impressive offensive output came while fine-tuning the details of his game in preparation for an NHL promotion.

“(Simon) is just a solid defensive guy, a solid two-way guy, but he has that skill level,” Admirals coach Dean Evason said of Moser. “At the NHL level he’s probably not going to score a lot, but he’s going to be that steady guy who is good at both ends.”

Moser earned his first NHL call-up this past weekend joining the Predators Saturday night in St. Louis. There the fresh-faced left winger handled himself admirably, seeing 16 shifts and 10:21 of ice time in the 4-3 shootout loss.

Fenton knew Moser would be ready to bring his game up to the highest level whenever he was called upon.

“We approached Simon after training camp and told him he was close and he had an opportunity to play in the league,” Fenton said of Moser, who will likely dress for his second NHL contest tonight in Minnesota. “We can plug him in anywhere from our first to our fourth line and he doesn’t look out of place at all.”

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