NEWARK, N.J. -- San Jose Sharks right wing Tomas Hertl will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a few of his teenage hockey idols when the Sharks play the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.
The game marks the home opener for the Devils, who began the season with four straight on the road. The Sharks are in the midst of a five-game road trip along the East Coast; they will travel to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers on Sunday before closing out the trip at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
Hertl, who happens to be the only player on the Sharks active roster born in the Czech Republic, will be playing against a Devils team that could have as many as four Czech natives in the lineup: Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, Marty Havlat and Marek Zidlicky. Havlat, who played a big role helping Hertl become acquainted to the NHL lifestyle as a member of the Sharks in 2013-14, is currently day-to-day with facial lacerations and his availability won't be determined until prior to puck drop.
Hertl said he has a huge poster of Jagr above his bed in his home in Praha.
"My home is all Jagr," Hertl said with a wide grin. "I like him because he's so strong and a strong skater. I strive to play the same style because I'm the same big [butt]. He's amazing and it's great to see how he plays at 42 years old. I still like the way he plays."