When it comes to hockey milestones, Nelson and Kathy Pyatt have had a lifetime full of them.
But Monday night likely will leapfrog its way near the top of that list as the Pyatts have travelled to Montreal from their home in Thunder Bay, Ont., to be in the building for the first time as sons Taylor and Tom square off in an NHL game.
"Last year was the first time we've ever faced each other in an organized hockey game. So growing up in the backyard rink is the only time we've really faced each other … I'm six years older, probably four or five inches taller and I've got 50 pounds on him, so I beat up on him a little bit. But it toughened him up, and he's always been a competitor."
-- Taylor Pyatt on facing his brother Tom
The Pyatt brothers did face each other once last season, when Tom's Montreal Canadiens
visited Taylor's Phoenix Coyotes
, but Tom had just been called up to the big club and Mom and Dad didn't have enough time to fly down for the game.
"It was fun last year, but it will be good for our parents to actually see us live," Taylor Pyatt
said after the Coyotes skated Monday morning. "Especially in this building with this kind of atmosphere, it's going to be good for them."
picked up the tab for a family dinner held late Sunday night in Montreal after the Coyotes got in town.
The two brothers were born six years apart. Taylor, 29, got all the size, while Tom, 23, inherited the speed. But the hockey gene runs strong in the family as their father, Nelson, played 296 games in the League with the Detroit Red Wings
, Washington Capitals
and Colorado Rockies.
"Last year was the first time we've ever faced each other in an organized hockey game," Taylor said. "So growing up in the backyard rink is the only time we've really faced each other … I'm six years older, probably four or five inches taller and I've got 50 pounds on him, so I beat up on him a little bit. But it toughened him up, and he's always been a competitor."
Speaking of competing, Kyle Turris
, the third pick of the 2007 Entry Draft, provided a glimpse of his competitive drive in the Coyotes' last game when he picked up 2 goals and an assist in the third period to get Phoenix a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to Carolina.
Turris, 21, has taken the long road to the NHL since being drafted, spending all of last season in the minors after playing 63 games with the big club in 2008-09.
"First of all, I got stronger, I learned how to protect the puck," Turris said of his season with AHL San Antonio. "I got better defensively, I got better on faceoffs -- I got better in a lot of little areas that make a big difference."
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett
said the problem for Turris in the past often has been that he simply wants it so bad, he sometimes tries too hard and that ultimately it becomes a detriment to his game.
"Hopefully now that he got a couple of goals, he can just relax and play," Tippett said. "He's a very good player, a very talented player. When he's not pressing I think he can be a better player."
For the Canadiens, they are coming off perhaps their strongest performance of the season in a 3-0 win in Ottawa on Saturday, so Jacques Martin has little reason to make any changes to a winning lineup.
Martin did announce that injured star defenseman Andrei Markov
will play his first game of the season this weekend, though it wasn't clear whether that will be Friday in Long Island or Saturday at home against Florida.