David Pastrňák becomes second Czech to enter NHL’s “100 Club”
Boston Bruins forward David Pastrňák scored a milestone hat-trick in the team’s 4:3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the weekend. With a total of 56 goals and 47 assists Pastrňák thus became only the second Czech ice hockey player after Jaromír Jágr to score more than 100 points during the regular NHL season. I asked Czech Radio’s sports journalist Petr Tomášek about the significance of the achievement.
“It’s a big milestone because, as you said, only Jágr managed it before him. It is also a mark of quality. He now belongs in the ‘100 club’, so he can call himself a superstar.”
How exclusive is this “100 club”?
“There are only 5 players in this season who made it and in some seasons there are no players who breach the three digit point score.”
Pastrňák is still just 26 and has much of his career in front of him. Where would you place him among Czech hockey stars overall?
“In terms of contemporary players he is the best. When it comes to the all-time Czech greats, I would place him behind Jaromír Jagr and Dominik Hašek because those two really were superstars. Pastrňák is one too but he hasn’t managed to win a Stanley Cup yet, that’s why the other two are above him.
“He is very lovable too. His approach to life is to have fun all of the time and people in the NHL can see it, especially the audience. He is funny to watch as a hockey player and as a person because he always smiles.”
Boston, in which Pastrňák plays, is currently dominating the NHL regular season. Do you think this could be the year when the Czech lifts up the Stanley Cup trophy?
“Yes. They have been the best team the whole season. But there is this curse that no one who has won the President’s Trophy for winning the regular season has gone on to win the Stanley Cup [which is won by the team that wins the subsequent play-offs].
“That said, Boston really is a great team. They have the best goaltender in Linus Ullmark as well as having the best offense in the league, so it really is possible to win it, but the play-offs are of course a whole other competition.“
Pastrňák is currently part of a Boston team that features five other Czechs, among them David Krejčí, who was part of the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup winning team. How important are these Czech players in the Boston side?
“Each one of them has their own role in the team. Pastrňák is the offensive power. David Krejčí is there for playing smart, his character and keeping everyone calm. Then there is Pavel Zacha who made his breakthrough season after being traded in from the New Jersey Devils. He really found himself and is playing great as well. Boston sometimes plays this trio as an all-Czech line, which is very powerful.
“Another Czech player in the Boston team is Tomáš Nosek who plays in the fourth line, but is a specialist in penalty killing. That’s very important. All the more in the play-off stages.
“We could call all of them the ‘Czech Mafia’ that is the cornerstone of Boston’s good season this year.”