2.01.2007

Family Ice

Isn't it great how much bloodlines cross in the NHL? Players sons end up scoring a hat trick against their Dad's old team, or someones uncle is the GM of their nephew's biggest rival.
This year in the NHL, it's not so hard to find family ties.
Brothers- Obviously, the Staal brothers go right to this spot. Eric, the Hurricanes best player, and Stanley Cup winner and playoff points leader, is still doing great job this year with 46 points. Jordan Staal, the current Staal rookie, could be one of the best shorthanded players in the NHL. He has 22 points, including 5 shorthanded points, and 16 goals. Marc Staal is a key prospect for the New York Rangers. He is currently playing in the OHL, with 27 points in 38 games. He has 12 games of AHL postseason experience, and had 2 assists. Jared Staal is the youngest of the Staal brothers, and is eligible for the 2008 draft. He is a promising player, but his stats will cause him to be selected low unless he has a breakout year. He has a goal and an assist in 49 OHL games.
There are a few other brother pairs in the Pro leagues. The Ferraro brothers, Chris and Peter, both have significant AHL careers and have played in the NHL before. Martin Biron is the current Sabres backup and brother Mathieu plays for Hamilton in the AHL. Matt Cullen is a key player for the New York Rangers, and Mark Cullen is currently with the Philadelphia Phantoms. Sergei Fedorov is a Blue Jackets center, and his way less known brother Fedor Fedorov is currently in Russia, having played for the NY Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks. But no Brother group can compare to the Staal's. Yet.
Father/Son- This category is much more common. As of now, the most famous are Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche and retired Peter Stastny. Sam Gagner is a key 2007 draftee, while father Dave was a multiple-year 40-goal scorer. Also of the Avalanche, Tyler Arnason and his father Chuck have both played for NHL teams. Panthers rookie Gregory Campbell is the son of former NHL president Colin Campbell, and Ottawa Senator Patrick Eaves' father Mike had a long NHL career. Ron and John Grahame both have NHL resumes, and Greg and Ryan Malone and J.P. and Zach Parise round off my list, although there are so much more.
Relatives (a.k.a Uncles, Cousins, etc.)- This group is substantially smaller for current NHLers. Chris Gratton of the Florida Panthers and Josh Gratton of the Phoenix Coyotes are cousins, and Ryan Miller is the younger first cousin of the NHL Miller trio of Kelly, Kip, and Kevin. Ryan Suter learned his tough style of play from former NHL uncle (not that he is his former uncle) Gary Suter, while Manny Fernandez is coached by uncle Jacques Lemaire for the Minnesota Wild. Brent Johnson's grandfather is the great Sid Abel, while Guy Carbonneau and Brenden Morrow, Cory Sarich and Nick Schultz, and Shayne Corson and Darcy Tucker are all related by marriage one way or another.
Who knows how many connections you can make by just two names out of all of those. Later folks, I'm heading to the ice.