Sunday Grab Bag: … are Brothers?

December 8, 2013, by
Staals are brothers

Staals are brothers

Today we’ll explore a subject that is near and dear to all of our hearts and livers, NHL players who are (or are they??) brothers. This topic comes about every time the Rangers play Carolina and Sam and Joe have a party over reminding us that Staals are brothers, which has become a fairly popular drinking game amongst the Rangers fan base who enjoy adult beverages from time to time. This has led me to wondering about other potential brothers, so here we go….

Last Name: Staal | Relation: Brothers

Yes, they’re brothers. Just look at them – seriously, they all look alike. The four brothers (from oldest to youngest) – Eric, Marc, Jordan and Jared – have all had more than just a minute playing professional hockey. We can thank the patriarch, Henry, for building the boys a rink in their native Thunder  Bay and imbedding hockey into them at a young age. Eric has been captain of Carolina since 2010, with Jordan serving as one of his alternates since he was traded in 2012, and Marc has been a Rangers alternate captain since 2010. Jared hasn’t quite broken in yet with the Carolina organization, but it’s safe to say the genes in this family are pretty decent. Spanning from ages 23-29, the brothers have over 1,500 NHL games played with over 1,000 points (and remember, Marc is a defenseman), two Stanley Cup wins, two World Junior golds, and one Olympic gold medal. Not sure if the Rangers fans have quite forgiven Eric for concussing Marc in 2011, but next time you think your family gatherings are awkward, imagine what their Christmas must have been like that year, as Marc missed the first three months of the 2011-2012 season due to post-concussion symptoms.

Fun fact: Jordan and Eric got arrested at Eric’s bachelor party in 2007.

Last Name: Sedin | Relation: Twins

We all know identical twins share a lot – they’ve got the same chromosomes, for goodness sake – but in the Sedins show that we don’t have to stop there. Not only do they share physical traits, they also share awards that I didn’t even know could go to two recipients. I’m legitimately surprised that the two aren’t co-captains of the Canucks – Henrik currently wears the “C,” with Daniel sporting an “A.” The 33 year old Swedish brothers have had identical career paths since they came to the NHL in 2000; winning Olympic gold with Sweden in 2006, and oftentimes being nominated for the same awards. Between the two brothers, they’ve racked up 1,550 points, with 141 in the playoffs, over 1,846 games played. Now that Torts is behind the bench in Vancouver, the thought of them being split up isn’t too crazy – or is it? Social experiment time, please.

Fun Fact: Daniel switched to wing in order to play on the same line with his brother while playing for Swedish team Modo.

Last Name: Backstrom | Relation: None, just a crazy coincidence

Nicklas Backstrom and Niklas Backstrom. I mean, if they were brothers, their parents would be pretty hilarious but more mean than anything else. Niklas is a 35-year-old Finnish goalie who’s currently splitting starts on the Wild with Josh Harding, Nicklas is a 26-year-old Swedish alternate captain for the Capitals. Nicklas was the youngest player in Swedish history to play at Worlds in 2006, where he won gold. According to one insurance agency’s commercial, he can also score 15 goals in 15 seconds on an empty net. Of the three games played against each other, Backstrom (WSH) has only scored on Backstrom (MIN) once. I cannot fathom how entertaining that play call must have been, but google knows I tried to find out.

Fun fact: Nicklas is Backstrom’s middle name, his actual birth name is Lars.

Last Name: Gionta | Relation: Brothers

Ahh, a last name that most Ranger fans will know: Gionta. Both brothers have played for the Devils across the Hudson. These Rochester natives are both physically similar, being small (both listed at 5’7”) and using speed as their greatest asset. Brian, the elder of the brothers, is the captain of the Canadiens and the second shortest current NHL player. Stephen, playing with the Devils, follows in his brother’s tenacious lead to play a quick, gritty game to be successful. The Giontas are the prototypes for the Canadiens team that always irks (and often beats) the Rangers.

Fun fact: Brian’s nickname is “the Rochester Rocket” — Stephen’s is “the Rochester Pocket Rocket.” At an age that is well out of college years, this makes me laugh harder than it should.

Last Name: Kassian | Relation: None

Kassians Zack and Matt are not related, but they are similar players in theory; Zack is an enforcer and Matt tries to be when he’s not a scratch. Zack, a 22-year-old Vancouver Canucks winger, had tremendous potential due to his size and aggressive play. Drafted 13th overall by the Sabres, his early scoring woes, off-ice behavior and overaggressive play led to him not being a consistent NHL player until he was traded. Matt is a 26 year old Senators winger who has spent most of his career in the AHL. His NHL career is marked with a lot of bench time (averaging just under 4 minutes of ice time per game), and a lot of penalty box time (126 PIM). Should be interesting to see if anything happens as Zack matures, but as someone who spends too much time watching Ottawa games, even writing about Matt gives me post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fun fact: This exists. The Kassassin? Alright.

Categories : Around the League


  1. Joel says:

    As long as you brought up Sam and Joe, I don’t how both of them were so adamant about the Devil’s first goal shouldn’t count. CLEARLY there was no kicking motion. The more I watch other games and hear their announcers, the more I realize how bad these two really are.

    • Becky says:

      You definitely should never listen to a Philly or Boston broadcast then – homer central

      • Mr. Snrub says:

        Nobody is worse than Staggy and Errey in Pgh.

        • Gary says:

          Errey is like having boiling oil poured in my ears. Boston’s Edwards is just awful.

          The guy in Buffalo is hilarious. You can hear his voice ramping up if the Sabres get anywhere near the goal. If they score he just loses it… in high register. Though this year he has a little bit of resignation in his voice too.

          Remember how John Davidson used to over compensate? I swear he would pleasure himself at times while talking about the opposing team. I found that annoying. Mr. Neutral. Joe gets that thing going sometimes too.

          • Ray V says:

            this made me laugh out loud. I agree on Buffalo. They drive me nuts. It was so annoying hearing him say Miroslav Šatan when I would listen to to their broadcasts. I can still hear that annoying high pitched voice go up with the name “Shaaatannnn”.
            Also, having the center ice package and watching a lot of games around the league, trust me when I tell you Sam and Joe are not as bad as you think. Actually think at least Sam is one of the best in the league. Joe gets on my nerves from time to time. JD’s excitement used to also get on my nerves but his analysis were so on point. And lets go back a little further for your “younger kids” = ) Jim Gordon could not have been more drone and monotone sounding, but it takes me back to my youth. And Bill Chadwick was the man!! “Shoot the puck Barry” = )

      • Walt says:


        Your right, that Jackson fool that does the Philly games is pure garbage, along with Coats!!

    • Dave says:

      Most announcers have a little homer in them, but Sam and Joe aren’t as bad as others.

      • The Suit says:

        I think Joe is pretty bad. Not because he’s a homer but because his color analysis isn’t up to par with other networks or even with his coworkers. Would love to see Biron, Anson, or even Ron in that role one day.

        • Becky says:

          Ron in that role would only be worthwhile if he compared plays to his wardrobe, like.. “wow, Pyatt moves so slowly, he’s so far behind.. much like my hairstyle”

        • Mr. Snrub says:

          Or Maloney.

          • Walt says:

            I think Dan Maloney does a great job on the radio, and tells it like it is. He really doesn’t sugar coat poor play by the Rangers when they aren’t playing well.

        • Ray V says:

          Agreed Suit. Even tho JD’s excitement was a bit over the top at times, his analysis where so much better. Now as far as Anson goes…. I must politely disagree =)

        • Mundo says:

          I never understood why Maloney doesn’t do the color analysis on tv. He’s leaps and bounds better than Joe.

          • Rob says:

            Leaps and bounds would be an understatement. I’m convinced Joe reads his notes more then he watches the game. Even Chico breaks down a play leading to a goal better then Joe. I still don’t understand why and how he got the job to begin with. Also, the Devils guys are pretty big homers too guys, especially Chico! Just the other night he and Dano were crying in an irrelevant situation about the penalty Schneider took playing the puck out of the trapezoid, when they were down by two goals, and they made it sound like that’s why they lost the game. However, the next night it was sooo easy for Dano to say that the puck was NOT kicked in by Jannsen on hockey night lol.

    • Chris F says:

      The goal shouldn’t have counted, in my opinion. While I can see the argument that it was the already forward motion of Janssen’s skate that deflected the puck in the net, I saw what pretty clearly appeared to be a last minute flick of the skate to propel the puck on net.

      As for Joe and Sam, they are cheeseballs, who get overly distracted talking about peripheral issues and lose focus on the play by play. They are far from homers though. They spend more time discussing the opponents, their injuries, their prospects, and various issues surrounding their game than they do the Rangers. Overly impartial, in my observation. Sometimes I wish they’d focus more on the game, other times I wish they’d put more emphasis on issues related to the Rangers.

      I’ve heard many other networks where they don’t give the opposition any coverage and half the time don’t know anything about opposing players.

      • Joel says:

        Couldn’t agree more Chris. Half the time they’re doing “shtick” and Sam isn’t really on the puck a lot of the time. THE best, in my opinion, is Joe Bowen in Toronto. The guys from Pittsburgh are awful and Edwards/Brickley in Boston are pretty hard on the ears too. Just wish our two guys would pay a bit more attention to the game and leave the other garbage out of the mix. Joe could NOT possibly have been the best qualified person to replace JD.

        • Becky says:

          Boston broadcast makes me sad. I never have the volume up if I’m watching it, they’re so abrasive

  2. Seahorse says:

    Way to plug your fantasy team becky

  3. Furls says:

    I agree Joe pretty much sux, but Sam is a class act and watching a game isn’t the same without him!
    You feel the void when Gianone fills in…

  4. Mikeyyy says:

    Wish they had sliders so I could lower the announcer volume and increase the on ice noise

  5. Mundo says:

    And would it kill Sam to call the fights instead of just sitting quietly? I mean didn’t he have a gig calling boxing matches? While we’re at it, MSG network has to stop showing close ups of random players while there are scrums around the net (not that this year’s Rangers even participate in scrums). Hockey is rough, tough and better yet politically incorrect, keep it that way god damn it!