|(Above) The boyz were back in town last night at the Pepsi Center|
by Rick Sadowski
There was plenty of good-natured bantering last night when former University of Denver teammates Paul Stastny and Matt Carle were on the Pepsi Center ice. The Avs skated away with a 3-2 Shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Stasny had an assist in the game.
Stastny, who is in his sixth season with the Colorado Avalanche, and Carle, in his seventh NHL season and fourth with the Philadelphia Flyers, played pivotal roles when the University of Denver won a national championship in 2004-05, and they remain close friends.
"It's always fun playing against him," Carle said after this morning pregame skate. "He's always trying to joke around on the ice and stuff. I'm a little more serious when I'm out there and he's always trying to get a laugh out of me when we're playing against each other. It's nothing too serious, but he keeps it fun out there."
The players have continued to follow each other's careers since leaving school after the 2005-06 season.
Stastny, a 25-year-old center, was a second-round pick (No. 44) of the Avalanche in the 2005 NHL Draft and signed with Colorado after his sophomore campaign. Carle, a 27-year-old defenseman, was San Jose's second-round pick (No. 47) in 2003 and signed with the Sharks after his junior season.
While Stastny has spent his entire NHL career with the Avalanche, Carle spent parts of three seasons with the Sharks and 12 games with Tampa Bay before being traded to the Flyers on Nov. 7, 2008.
"After being traded a couple times it's nice to be in one spot for a period of time and to get to know the guys on the team and the coaching staff," Carle said.
Carle has 4 goals and 14 assists in 31 games this season after collecting 7 goals and 68 assists in 162 games over the two previous seasons.
"He's kind of found his niche," Stastny said. "He's been playing really well there. It's a good style for him. He can use his speed and his high offensive skill to jump into the play."
Carle also has 3 power-play goals and a plus-6 rating while averaging 22:31 in ice time.
"Just a really steady, quiet, effective player for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "There's not a lot of noise with Matt. You don't hear much about him, but every night he goes in there and recently he's been our top minute guy. He's really good in all zones. He defends other teams' top players, he adds offensively, he plays in all situations for us and he's a great kid in the locker room.
"Quietly, he's one of our leaders on the back end. It doesn't come with a whole lot of hoopla, and I think that's a really good thing. He's just a quiet guy that goes about his business and he's very effective. He's having a terrific year."
Said Carle: "Even when I was in college I was never one of those guys to stand up in the locker room and yell at the guys. I try to lead by example and be a professional and just do what's expected of me."