The First Brotherly Bruins Habs Rivalries

Friday night the Boston Bruins announced they had selected goaltender Malcom Subban as the 24rd pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Malcom is, as we are wll aware, the brother of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who is not the most popular of players amongst the Bruins faithful.

It should make things fun down the road, should these two finally meet on the ice. The talk is already starting as the new family rivalry didn't take long to get underway.

It’s going to have to get out now," Malcolm Subban said Friday,on needing to take down his older brother's Canadiens jersey off his bedroom wall. "The rivalry is just about to begin. I don’t know if he is going to like me that much, but to be honest, I never liked him that much.

This will not be the first meeting of NHL brothers playing for the Canadiens and Bruins, as it's happened twice before.

The first time was on January 11, 1941 when Canadiens defenceman Ken Reardon faced brother Terry, a centre with the Bruins. Both players were in their rookie seasons, although the older Terry had seen a pair of four-game stints in two prior seasons, including a couple playoff games to get his name on the Stanely Cup in 1939.

The Bruins won that meeting, and eventually the Stanley Cup. The following season, both would be teamates on the Canadiens.

After their military service in World War II, the Reardons would again square off in the Bruins/Habs rivalry for two more seasons. The two squaring off would come as no surprise given both of them using a rough and tumble style of play.

Ken Reardon would win the Cup in 1946, and five more times as an executive with the club. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.

Hall of Famers Phil and Tony Esposito are the more famous Boston-Montreal sibling rivals, and the only to oppose one another as skater and goalie.

The two brothers squared off on many occasions in their NHL careers, when Tony played for the Chicago Blackhawks, but on December 5, 1968, younger brother Tony was a Canadiens prospect playing against big brother Phil and the Bruins. The elder Esposito, practically stolen from the Blackhawks two seasons earlier, was en route to his first of five Art Ross Trophies and would become the first NHL player to record 100 points in a season.

Little brother Tony got the call up from the Houston Apollos after Gump Worsley was told by the team doctor to take a month off, to resolve psycological issues over flying with the team.

That December game at the Boston Garden, would be Esposito's first NHL start. He had seen 26 minutes of action, a week prior in relief of Rogie Vachon, against the Oakland Seals.

Les Freres Esposito did not disappoint in a brotherly showcase on the evening.

Phil put the Bruins on the board first, at 7:55 of the first period. The Canadiens rallied back with a second period goal from Bobby Rosseau and an early third period marker from Yvan Cournoyer to take a 2-1 lead.

Always the competitor, the Bruins centre blasted a 45-foot shot, over the shoulder of the screened Canadiens goaltender, to tie it at 9:48 the third period.

"Phil didn't have any qualms about scoring on his brother. I can tell you that," said Bruins coach Harry Sinden. "When you get a chance to score in this game, you take it. You're not going to ease up."

The younger Esposito, did stop his elder sibling on two other occasions and made 33 saves on the night. After the game, Bobby Rosseau told his goalie, 'Your mother isn't going to like Phil for what he did to you."

"It was a tough spot to put a rookie in, but he's a very good prospect in our system," said Canadiens coach Claude Ruel. "Anytime someone steps in and stops Boston in two goals,he's got to be doing well."

Tony Esposito played another 11 games in relief of Worsley and Vachon during the regular season. He was called up again during the playoffs, and served as Vachon's backup and earned his only engraving on the Stanley Cup.

Sources:

The Norwalk Hour; Decenber 6, 1968

United Press International; December 6, 1968

The Canadian Press; December 6, 1968

Special thanks to readers Laura Kenney and Merrill Smith for noting the brotherly meetings.

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