For the first time…well…ever, Paul Stastny and his brother, Yan, faced off against each other when the Avalanche took on the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night. Due in part to Yan being three years older than Paul, the brothers were almost always separated during their days playing youth hockey.
In the rare occasions when the two took the ice at the same time over the years, they always lined up as teammates rather than opponents.
Yan has played for three NHL teams (Edmonton, Boston and St. Louis) since the start of the 2005-06 campaign. The center has skated in 67 NHL games while bouncing back and forth between those NHL clubs and their AHL affiliates.
Paul, meanwhile, has firmly established himself as an elite player during his two-plus seasons with the Avalanche and was selected to the NHL All-Star Game a season ago. Somehow, their paths on the ice never crossed until tonight.
“We’ve had a couple opportunities to go against each other, but someone has always been hurt or something,” said the younger Stastny. “We’ve trained so hard our whole lives to do this and now this will make our parents proud for sure.”
And what parents wouldn’t be proud of such a unique accomplishment? If any family can appreciate how special reaching the NHL level is, it’s the Stastny clan. Paul and Yan’s father, Peter (along with their uncles, Marian and Anton), starred for the Quebec Nordiques during the 1980s.
Paul and Yan’s parents now split their time between Slovakia (where they happened to be tonight) and St. Louis.
“I think he’s just excited. He’s hoping for a tie probably,” Paul commented this morning about his father’s mindset. “I think my mom is probably the most excited of all. You know how mothers are; they always get nervous before those games. They’re both in Europe and I’m sure they’ll try to find a satellite dish to watch at 4:00 in the morning or whatever time it is over there.”
If Stastny clan was watching, and we’re sure they were, they caught a special moment just 1:40 into the first period. It was then that Paul hopped off the bench with Yan at the tail end of his first shift of the evening.
Even though the sibling rivalry is a friendly one, Yan capitalized on the opportunity to put a big hit on his little brother midway through the second period, clearing Paul out of Legace’s crease during a scramble in front of the St. Louis goal.
“Oh yeah, I got him right in the chops. He was giving a few whacks at Manny,” quipped Yan. “Loose puck. That’s what you have to do, you have to clear the net a little bit. I should have gotten him earlier but I got him later.”
And Paul probably should have seen it coming.
“He’s not going to take it easy on little brother, I’m used to it.”
When the final buzzer sounded, neither Stastny had gotten onto the scoresheet, but that didn’t diminish the significance of their first meeting.
A Family Affair Peter, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, recorded 1,239 points in his career, which helps to put him and both his boys high up on the list of father-son point-producing combos in NHL history.
TOTAL FATHER PTS SON PTS 2592 Howe, Gordie 1850 Howe, Mark 742 2561 Hull, Bobby 1170 Hull, Brett 1391 1881 Howe, Gordie 1850 Howe, Marty 31 1405 Stastny, Peter 1239 Stastny, Paul 166 1248 Stastny, Peter 1239 Stastny, Yan 9 1038 Apps, Syl Sr. 432 Apps, Syl Jr. 606