KANATA, Ont. -- In the Team Chara locker room at Scotiabank Place during the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, three longtime friends cracked jokes in their native language that no one else in the room could understand. This was the Slovak section of Team Chara, a row of stalls occupied by three of the game's best players.
With Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara serving as captain and namesake for the winning team in the 12-9 contest, Slovakia was set to figure prominently in the game. But a three-goal MVP performance from countryman Marian Gaborik and three-point night from fellow Slovak Marian Hossa made it a momentous event in the country's sports history. That these three players all hail from Trencin, a western Slovakian town of roughly 56,000 inhabitants, is impressive enough.
But from the same street?