Paul Stastny says it didn't sink in until he was a teenager how good a player his Hall of Fame father Peter Stastny was.
Peter Stastny was the best of three brothers, with Anton and Marian, who defected from the former Czechoslovakia in 1980 to form a dynamic scoring line with the Quebec Nordiques. "My dad and my uncles were pretty humble guys, so just hearing if from other people I saw how respected they were as players," Paul Stastny said Tuesday on a conference call.
"As you get older you start reading stuff and seeing highlights. I was probably 15 or 16 when hockey started getting serious."
Paul, who is Peter's second son, has picked up the thread with the Colorado Avalanche, who were in Quebec before the club was sold and moved to Denver in 1995.
After a 78-point season put him second to Pittsburgh phenom Evgeni Malkin in rookie of the year voting in 2006-07, Paul Stastny has started the current campaign on fire, with a league-leading eight points in Colorado's first three games.
The 21-year-old opened the season with his first career hat-trick against Dallas and, after being held scoreless against Nashville, picked up a career-high five points in a 6-2 win over San Jose to earn NHL player of the week honours.
Peter Stastny had 1,048 points in 10 seasons with the Nordiques before moving on to New Jersey and St. Louis. His son is looking like he may match him.
And if it is all in the genes, fewer of them were passed to Paul's 25-year-old brother Yan Stastny, currently in the St. Louis Blues organization, who has struggled to stick in the NHL.
Paul recalls growing up playing pond hockey in Quebec City, where both brothers were born, although he did most of his growing up in St. Louis.
And like brothers Scott and Rob Neidermayer, who won a Stanley Cup in the spring with Anaheim after playing for different clubs through their careers, the Stastnys dream of winning together one day.
"We talked about that growing up," he said. "We're both trying to battle for NHL jobs, but one day if we're fortunate our paths may cross.
"I think the two happiest people would be my parents."
It's partly why Paul Stastny, who had a choice between Canada and the United States, elected to play for the American team at the IIHF world championship.
"I think I had a better opportunity and maybe the U.S. wanted me," he said. "And maybe looking to the future, my brother already played for the U.S., and it's always been a dream of ours to play together in an international event like that."
His recollections of Quebec City are cold weather and
"playing on the ponds across the street from where we lived, just me and my brother.
"Then I went back for the Quebec peewee tournament and my dad was there."
Now he wears his father's old number 26 and plays with one of his father's old teammates, Joe Sakic, who was just starting his 19-year NHL career when Peter Stastny was ending his stay in Quebec.
"Obviously, he's making sure I have fun out there and he's always saying little jokes about my old man and playing together," Stastny said. "He's a quiet guy, but once you get to know him, he opens up.
"If there's ever any questions I need answered he's always there to help me."