The first time these teams met in the Winter Olympics, in 1924, Canada beat the Swiss 33-0. In their next meeting in 1928, Canada beat the Swiss 13-0. In 2003 That stands as the largest margin of victory for Canada, ever. How times have changed.
In 2006, as Canadian hockey fans know, La Suisse defeated Canada's best, 2-0, at the Olympics. We'll ignore, for a second, that Canada was denied two legitimate goals. Forget the fact Canada severely out shot and outshot La Suisse. The fact is that the scoreboard is where it counts, and that is where La Suisse beat Team Canada.
Paul Dipietro, a displaced Canadian, scored both goals for La Suisse.
"Canadians are great that way - they love underdogs and they love upsets," Krueger said after Switzerland's practice on Tuesday. "Even if it beats their own. I felt nothing but a positive respect when I got back to the lake." (Source)
Perhaps it is that respect that was lacking in 06. Perhaps Team Canada took Team Switzerland lightly. Shane Doan certainly seems to think so:
"Shane has already brought it up and said we can't take those guys lightly like we did at the Olympics," said Rick Nash. (Source)
If that was a problem, consider it solved.
"There's a lot of good players that play in Europe, never mind that they don't maybe have long, successful NHL careers," said Staal. "If you don't play well or the way you want to, they can beat you like anybody. "That's what happened on that occasion." (Source)
Andy Murray coached in Switzerland for several years before he coached in the NHL, and his son plays in a Suisse league right now. Murray is very aware of the ability of the Suisse, and also, very respectful. The man who chose him as the coach, GM Steve Yzerman, remembers '06.
"First of all, we know the result of the Olympic tournament," said GM Steve Yzerman. "We've played against Norway, we've played against Germany. Back in Canada the perception is 'oh these are easy games' but that's not the case and we've learned that. Getting beat by the Swiss team and whatnot, it's going to happen more than we like it to and we have to accept that these teams are good." (Source)
Canada's best got beaten by Switzerland just over a year ago. The team knows they can get beat. They know that better teams have been beaten by Switzerland. The respect is there; except from the Canadian public. Rest assured, if Canada loses on Thursday morning, questions will have to be answered. Switzerland is a good team. But they better not be better than us.