MONTREAL -- Blockbuster trade throw-in turned speedy Habs winger, Tom Pyatt has even more in store for his second NHL season.
When Habs fans first heard of Pyatt, he was a mere bullet point in the major swap that brought Scott Gomez
to Montreal from the Rangers last summer. After a strong training camp and solid showing with the Bulldogs to start the season, Pyatt made the jump to the big team and ended up being a regular in Jacques Martin’s lineup right through the playoffs.
Now 40 regular season games and three playoff rounds later, the question becomes: what does the 23-year-old have planned for an encore in his sophomore campaign?
“Well for starters, I’m working even harder this summer than I did last year,” said Pyatt, who is taking nothing for granted despite inking his first-ever one-way deal this summer. “In a way there maybe isn’t as much pressure, but it’s still there. It’s just a different kind of pressure. The pressure to improve, keep my spot and build on what I’ve done. I’m just hoping to make another good impression at camp.”
When Pyatt has been sweating away in the gym or hitting the ice back home in Thunder Bay, ON this summer, at least he’s had some company. Just as he has for as long as he can remember, Pyatt has had his big brother – and Coyotes forward – Taylor by his side through it all.
“I’m trying to work on building functional strength,” described the younger Pyatt, who also counts Alex Auld among his annual summer workout buddies. “I’m doing a lot of mobility stuff. I’ve also added a little bit of extra mass, but not to the point to where it will hurt my speed.”
While they workout together in the offseason, the Pyatt brothers couldn’t live more diverse realities once the season gets underway. The 3,500 km between Phoenix and Montreal is only the beginning of what sets Tom and Taylor’s NHL homes apart.
“When we played down in Phoenix last season, they actually had their biggest crowd of the year I think, and that was only like 10,000 people – and half of them were probably Canadiens fans so that tells you all you need to know. It’s different for sure,” said Pyatt, who will face Taylor for the first time on home ice on October 25 at the Bell Centre. “I prefer Montreal because of the fans and how crazy they are. The fans here are awesome and there’s so much energy in our building even in preseason. My favorite thing is skating out of that tunnel before game. I mean you hear about how nuts it is here, but until you experience it for yourself as a player on this team, you don’t really know what it’s like.”
Pyatt is only weeks away from being reminded of exactly that.Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.READ ALSO2010-11 season preview - Scott Gomez My Essentials: Dustin Boyd 2010-11 season preview - Brian Gionta What do the experts have to say? 2010-11 season preview – Michael Cammalleri