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Avalanche rookie centre has 'great vision' -- just like Peter had
Jim Matheson, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, October 15, 2006

Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish knows he's getting old when he sees Peter Stastny's son, Paul, on the ice for the Colorado Avalanche.

"That's one of a million indicators," joked the 48-year-old coach, who waged many a battle with Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, trying to handcuff the Czech centre throughout their NHL playing days.

MacTavish almost got into a fight with the elder Stastny one night in Edmonton after Peter, then playing for the New Jersey Devils, speared him in the faceoff circle.

But MacTavish was better prepared to check him then, than he was early in this career when he played for the Boston Bruins against Stastny's Quebec Nordiques.

"I remember being in Boston and if I made a move on the bench, Peter had his leg over the boards at the old Colisee. All the Stastnys (brothers Marian, Anton and Peter) were tough. They killed us. Peter was so strong on the puck ... that's why he irritated me on the face-offs," said MacTavish.

"I helped Peter get to the Hall of Fame," joked Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville.

Now, Quenneville is sending Paul Stastny out for face-offs, thankful that this Stastny is on his team.

Same with Joe Sakic, the 37-year-old Avs captain, who actually played with Peter, and now plays with his son, who was barely out of his crib in the late '80s in Quebec City.

Paul, 20, spent two years playing at the University of Denver, and now he's a rookie in the NHL, wearing

No. 62, the flipside of his dad's famous No. 26 jersey.

Paul couldn't get the No. 26 here because John-Michael Liles had first dibs on that number.

"You're in the NHL ... the last thing you worry about is the number you've got," said Paul, Colorado's

second-round draft pick (44th overall) in the 2005 NHL entry draft. He's also Colorado's No. 2 centre, after Sakic, playing with another rookie, Wojtek Wolski.

Paul had one assist in his first three NHL games,

averaging 141/2 minutes a game.

Nobody's expecting Paul to have a rookie season like his dad did (109 points in 1980-81) but he looks like a player. He plays more like his dad than brother Yan, a versatile winger/centre who played three games with the Oilers last season and now is on the Bruins' fourth line.

"Paul is terrific with the puck ... it seems to follow him around. Down low, he's got great vision, finding

people," said Quenneville.

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