February 21, 2012

Hockey's Best Brother Acts

Vancouver's Sedin twins are truly something special to watch. Their magical symmetry is unparalleled. Daniel and Henrik are hockey artists in the truest sense of the word.

The NHL certainly has it's fair share of sibling rivalries over the years. But it is rare to see two (or more) brothers excel together on the same team. Which raises the question: Are the Sedins the best brother duo to ever play together?

They certainly are in contention, but there are few others certainly worth noting, including a couple of Hall of Fame siblings teammates. 

Bill and Bun Cook, New York Rangers: If there was ever a line combination from hockey's past I would pay big money to watch it would be the New York Rangers Bread Line.  The Cooks teamed up with Frank Boucher in the 1930s to be the an early day version of the Sedins. Their game was also based on beauty. Old time observers insist their game of intricate passing and criss-crossing the ice was nearly identical to the style adopted by the Soviets several decades later. Bill Cook was a Hall of Fame sniper, a right winger as good as Rocket Richard and Gordie Howe, at least according to old time New York hockey fans. Bun Cook, speedy passer known as the inventor of the drop pass, also landed in the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Maurice and Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens: Believe it or not, the Rocket was 15 years older than the Pocket Rocket. By the time Henri joined the Canadiens in 1955, Maurice was already a living hockey legend heading into the downside of his career. Yet they shared in 5 consecutive Stanley Cups. It was Henri's first 5 seasons, and Maurice's last 5 seasons. Both players would end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Max and Doug Bentley, Chicago Blackhawks: Max Bentley, was dubbed the Dipsy Doodle Dandy, and Doug Bentley was some sort of Mighty Mouse playing at 145lbs and leading the league in scoring in 1943. They teamed with another Hall of Famer in Bill Mosienko on Chicago's "Pony Line" in the 1940s. They also briefly played (3 of Reg's 11 career games) with little known brother Reg Bentley.  On January 3rd, 1943 Reg scored his only goal, with assists from Max and Doug. It was the first time brothers got all three points on a NHL goal.

Frank and Peter Mahovlich, Montreal Canadiens: By the time The Big M (Frank Mahovlich) joined Montreal he was on the downside of his magnificent, Hall of Fame career. The younger and inappropriately nicknamed Little M (Pete Mahovlich was significantly taller than his older brother) was an excellent playmaking pivot though he not of Hall of Fame calibre. Together they celebrated Stanley Cup championships in 1971 and 1973, and played significant roles on Team Canada's 1972 Summit Series team.

Bobby and Dennis Hull, Chicago Blackhawks:  Bobby Hull and Dennis Hull played together from 1964 through 1972 when Bobby controversially departed for the WHA. Part of the fall out of The Golden Jet flying off to become a Winnipeg Jet was Team Canada's refusal to let Bobby, no longer a NHL player, play in the 1972 Summit Series. Who replaced him? None other than Dennnis, a very solid player in his own right though he never escaped his legendary brother's enormous shadow.

Peter, Anton, and Marian Stastny, Quebec Nordiques: How about three brothers all on the same line? That's what happened in Quebec in the 1980s. Peter and Anton defected together, with Peter ultimately landing in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Older brother Marian later defected. His transition to North America was not quite as smooth as his brothers, so the trio were a relatively short term line. Peter and Anton played quite a bit together over the years. Prior to their defection to the NHL, the three became the first brothers to play on the same line at the Olympics, representing Czechoslovakia at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.


Unknown said...

Bill and Bob Cleary, 1960 US Olympic Hockey Team

Julia said...

Also, Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux are identical twins playing hockey for the US national team.