-- Jakub Kindl
isn't just eager to get on the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers
on Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena because it will be his fourth straight start on the blue line.
His giddiness on Sunday morning also wasn't because the Detroit Red Wings
have a chance to become just the third team in NHL history to win 20 straight home games. It was a more personal reason, stemming from his childhood growing up in the Czech Republic as a huge fan of Jaromir Jagr
-- who plays right wing for the Flyers' top line.
The 25-year old Kindl has never played against Jagr, so Sunday's game will be special for him.
"I'm excited because I've been dreaming of one day playing against him," said Kindl, who owns a signed copy of Jagr's autobiography that came out in the late 1990s. "Here I am and the dream finally came true. I'm playing one of the best hockey players born."
Kindl's favorite Jagr memory is when he helped the Czech Republic win the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
"When they won in Nagano '98, I think I was about 10," Kindl said. "I was watching it in the school. We were skipping class to watch the finals. It was the biggest [deal], so I'm really looking forward to tonight."
Even if he winds up in a one-on-one situation against the skilled 6-foot-3, 240-pound Flyers forward?
"If I get the chance to be out there against him, I've just got to be good defensively because he's a very strong guy on the puck, especially one-on-one," said Kindl, who's 6-3, 216 pounds. "I've got to watch out if I get a chance out there."
Kindl doesn't know if he'll get to meet Jagr after the game, but does plan to request one of his sticks.
"I've never met him," Kindl said. "I'm going to request a stick, but it feels kind of awkward for me. I'll do my best, though, because I think there are going to be a lot of guys asking him for his stick, too. I'm going to have to find a way."
Detroit also has Czech-born forward Jiri Hudler
playing right wing on the second line.
"Huds knows him better than I do," Kindl said. "He played against him in Russia [KHL] a couple years ago, and he knows him better. I think they played on the national team a couple times, too."