CHICAGO – If you ever are touring the Czech Republic, make a stop in Kladno.
That’s the town that hosted Lord Stanley’s Cup in the summer of 2013.
Well, it hasn’t happened yet, but it will. That’s because both the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have Kladno residents on their roster. Michael Frolik represents the town for the Hawks, while Jaromir Jagr does so for the Bruins.
Frolik, 25, admitted Monday that he grew up idolizing Jagr, now 41 years old.
“When I was little, he was a big star at home,” Frolik said. “For sure, he was my idol.”
It’s not every day that a player is able to compete against his childhood idol for the biggest prize in hockey. Jagr scored 16 goals in the regular season during stints with the Dallas Stars and Bruins, giving him 681 goals in his NHL career.
Frolik, who has 61 career goals, marveled at Jagr’s agelessness.
“It’s kind of unbelievable he’s still playing at this level,” Frolik said. “He’s a great player. He’s proved it so many years.
“Even now, he’s pretty good, and we have to be careful with him.”
Admiration society: While Frolik spoke glowingly of Jagr, his countryman, Hawks forward Andrew Shaw admired Bruins forward Brad Marchand for his peskiness.
Like Shaw, Marchand (5-8, 183 pounds) does not wear a big sweater but seems to make a big difference whenever he is on the ice.
“Clearly, he’s a great player,” said Shaw, who has four goals and 26 penalty minutes in 17 playoff games. “He does what he needs to do and he’s great at it.
“He’ll get under the skin. He’ll score goals. He’ll skate. He’ll hit. He’ll try to draw penalties. He’ll do it all. I’d like to be like that. He’s been in the league a lot longer.”
Watching from afar: Although the Hawks did not play the Bruins during a shortened regular season, the team has a good idea of what to expect.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said scouting the Bruins required homework.
“You have scouts,” Quenneville said. “[You] talk to people involved in playing against them. [There are] not a lot of secrets out there. What you see is what you’ll get.”