World Championship Postcard: Yan Stastny
hockey career is a lot like a made-for-TV movies in which the average
high school girl stuns her former classmates when she shows up at
a reunion looking like Eva Longoria. Less than 24 months after leaving
Notre Dame after two vanilla seasons, he’s become a bona fide
NHL prospect after two impressive years with Nuernberg in Germany’s
top professional league and landing a spot on the U.S. team that
competed in this year’s IIHF World Championship in Austria.
Yan Stastny has played with the
German Elite League's Nuernberg
Ice Tigers for two seasons.
there's no U.S. television coverage of the games,
you can watch them all on the web through a service
offered by MediaZone.com,
a sponsor of INCH's World Championship coverage. |
complete stats, standings and more, visit the tournament's
official web site at IHWC.net. | Link
Stastny’s decision to leave the Fighting Irish, where he amassed
20 goals and 20 assists in 72 career games, after the 2002-03 campaign
seemed curious. The Boston Bruins, which had chosen him in the eighth
round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, weren’t rushing to create
a spot for him in the Hub or on the team’s American Hockey
League affiliate in Providence, for that matter.
Still, Stastny felt his future in hockey would be best served by
playing professionally. His father, Hall of Fame forward Peter Stastny,
agreed, which effectively cinched the debate.
“My biggest thing was that I wanted to concentrate more on
hockey,” Stastny said last week as the bus carrying him and
the rest of his U.S. teammates motored from Vienna to Innsbruck.
“I felt that to develop as a player, I had to be on the ice
as much as possible.”
Stastny played in 44 regular-season games and six playoff contests
in his first year with Nuernberg, scoring a total of 30 points.
Not bad, but kleine kartoffeln compared to the breakout
he enjoyed this past season. In a year in which the talent level
of European leagues rose due to the influx of out-of-work NHLers,
Stastny was fourth among Deutsche Eishockey League players in scoring
(54 points in 51 games), finished sixth in goals (24), ranked tied
for 11th in assists (30) and led the Ice Tigers to a third-place
finish in the league standings.
time you play more games, you become more experienced,” said
Stastny, explaining his meteoric rise. “My skating and strength
has improved. Every league in Europe has stepped up with NHL players
coming to play. Playing well gives you that little extra bit of
likely grew exponentially with his selection to the U.S. team. Skating
alongside NHL stalwarts like Doug Weight and Mike York and young
up-and-comers such as Jordan Leopold and Zach Parise, he acquitted
himself quite well, scoring two goals in seven games.
the season progressed, my agent told me I was in the running [to
make the U.S. team],” Stastny recalled. “But it’s
still something I never expected at all. I would come here every
year if they asked.”
and Bob Goodenow willing, Stastny would likely prefer to skip next
year’s World Championship due to another commitment –
one in the Stanley Cup playoffs with the Bruins. But playing in
Germany (Stastny’s contract with Nuernberg expired this season)
has benefits. For example, the DEL schedule allows him to keep tabs
on his brother, Paul, who capped a stellar freshman season at Denver
by helping the Pioneers win a second straight national championship.
play on Fridays and Sundays, so I’d check the Internet Saturday
morning,” explained Stastny, who was in Columbus for the Frozen
Four because Nuernberg was upset in the first round of the DEL playoffs
by Adler Mannheim. “I’d talk to [Paul] once a week,
usually on Sunday after my game. He had a phenomenal year.”
Stastnys, phenomenal years, like goals, come in bunches.
this to a friend
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