• 12/22/2011, 10:34AM ET

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou??? NBAT


So the topic of this TD is - Best sibling/cousin set in NHL History.

Now, to outline some rules here. Only siblings or cousins are usable, no parent/child, grandparent/grandchild, no in-laws... and yes they all exist.

When I read this, I had some names that popped immediately into my mind, but after looking further into it, I have decided that the BEST sibling/cousin set in NHL history is without a doubt:

Maurice Richard and Henri Richard

These two brothers played together on the Montreal Canadiens from 1955 through 1960. Not only did these brothers win the Stanley Cup every year that they played together, but they also have a combined 9 Cups to their names playing apart. The pair has sipped the bubbly from Lord Stanley's Cup 19 times in total (a Record for most Cups by any combination of brothers).

In most cases sibling/cousin sets are ruled by one great player and one mediocre player, the Richard Brothers however, are both individually among the greatest players in history. On the Hockey News' top 100 players of all time, Maurice falls 5th while Henri come in at 30th.

Next Argument I will outline their individual accomplishments.
GL Schad!

Well, if it was a diving team, I'd go with the Sedin's.

If it was a lazy choice, I'd go with the Gretzky's.

Statney's are an option, as were the Sutters, just based on the amount of Sutters there were.

Well, I chose none of those.

I'll go with the Esposito's.

Phil and Tony.

Yes, the Richards have more SC rings. But, they played on the same team at the same time. Not hard to do on a dominant team. Also, Montreal had the right of first refusal for all players within 50 miles of Montreal. Quite the advantage.

Now, as far as what they accomplished:

Phil vs Maurice (Headliners)

Phil led the NHL in goals 6 times, Maurice 5 times.
Phil led the NHL in points 5 times, Maurice 0 times. (This surprised me)

Maurice averaged 0.986 points per game.
Phil averaged 1.240 points per game.

Now, the Espositos achieved their dominance while playing for different teams. On top of that, they played different positions, unlike the Richards who were both forwards.

Phil was a forward and Tony was a goalie. Both are in the HOF, playing on different teams, in different positions.

Next, Tony vs Henri, based on impact to team.

You bring up that the Richard brothers played on the same team however, this only accounts for 5 years of the 32 year span that two played from 1942-1975. Apart the brothers won 9 Cups, combined your two have 3. I don't want to spend all my time talking about the stanley cup achievements though.
Both Richard brothers are also enshrined in the HOF, and as stated in the previous argument they are 5th and 30th on the 100 greatest players list. as for the Espositos? Phil is at 18th and Tony 79th.
While Phil was a great scorer (one of the best all time) so was Maurice "the Rocket" Richards, while playing in a vastly different era. Upon his retirement from hockey in 1960 he was the all time leading scorer for the Montreal Canadians, one of the most storied franchises in the NHL.

Where the real difference is, is the pair combined. While Phil may have a slight edge in scoring over Maurice (and based on era played even that is debatable), Henri was just as capable as Maurice, whereas Tony (while still a HOFer) was not in the same league as Phil. Why should it matter if they were both forwards, if the were still better players?

The Stanley Cup argument is moot. That's a team trophy. Is Marcel Dionne suddenly not as good a player because he didn't get a cup? Non.

As I noted in the first argument, Phil actually led the league in scoring a number of times, something that Maurice Richard never did. Being the leading scorer all time for a franchise is nice, but that and $2 gets you a cup of coffee.

Also, being a specific number rating is only a opinion. Just because a certain set of writers thing something, that does not make it a fact.

Now, you are saying Henri was as capable as Maurice. Not even close. Henri scored 30 goals once. Once. That's it.

As far as the "slight edge" in scoring for Phil, just show me one year when Maurice led the NHL in scoring. That'd be against his peers, and he never did it. How is that "slight"?

Now, for Tony.

In 72-73, he was 32-17-7. The backup was 10-10-2
In 75-76, he was 30-23-13. The backup was 2-7-5
In 78-79, he was 28-22-14. The backup was 4-7-5

He led the NHL in wins twice, GAA once, sh's 3 times, and minutes played 6 times. He was a workhorse for Chicago.

Show me how Henri single handedly had that kind of impact on the Canadiens as Tony did.

It could just as easily be argued that Tony benefited greatly from minding the net during the Makita/Hull era. Sure he was on a winning team, but comparing his best three years against the backup goalies is absurd.

72-73 Gary Smith (14 years of failure 173-262 record)
75-76 Gilles Villemure (better than Smith, but 15 games in goal hurts)
78-79 Mike Veisor (never started more than 30 games in 10 years)

Let's compare Tony to his peers now

Tony was top 5 in Goals given up 8 times! (leading twice)

of all goalies in the HOF only 3 have worse than Tony's 2.924 career GAA (85th all time)

Now for Henri.
Henri was nearly as good as Maurice. While not the goal scoring legend that Maurice was, Henri was a better team impact player, leading the league in assists twice, and finishing with nearly 100 more points than Maurice on his career (in 2 more years).

the hardest part of this comparison, (as in any sport) is comparing across era. during Maurice's era a 75 point season was GREAT! During Phil's era on average 5 players finished the season with over 100 pts. Of course Phil would have better scoring averages.

While Phil/Tony was a good choice, Maurice/Henri is better!

Well, you are guilty of comparing numbers across era's. For example you are comparing Espo's GAA against players of the 20's and 30's and of today with his numbers in the 70's and 80's with the HOF numbers.

You are also trying to use the Goals allowed against him, but the numbers are out of context. The reason is simple. He was playing a lot more minutes than his peers as well. As a matter of fact, he led the league in minutes played 5 times. When you are playing a lot more minutes than everyone else, it's easy to give up more goals and still be a better goalie.

Phil led the league in points several times, Maurice never did. This isn't across era's. This is against his peers.

As far as 75 points being great during Maurice's time, the league leader had between 85-95 points. 75 isn't exactly great.

Let's be honest. Maurice is remembered for 2 things. 50 goals in 44-45, which had more to do with WWII and the best NHL players being in the war, and being a cause of a riot in 1955.

I'll make it simple. Would Henri Richard be considered a top 30 player at center? No. Not even close.

Would Tony Esposito be considered a top 20 goalie of all time? Yes, absolutely.

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December 22, 2011  10:48 AM ET

I'll take the Bash Brothers from the Mighty Ducks.

I'll take the Hansen Brothers from Slap Shot.

December 22, 2011  11:15 AM ET

I'll take the Hansen Brothers from Slap Shot.

You could have, the Carlsons.

December 22, 2011  11:15 AM ET

Schad, I'm waiting on a challenge from you. Please don't do it over the weekend. Wait until next Tuesday.

OK. I'm too lazy to do 2 at once anyway.

December 22, 2011  11:18 AM ET

You could have, the Carlsons.

I know, but i only liked the movie versions, besides both carlsons weren't even in the movie.

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December 22, 2011  02:18 PM ET

I'll take the Hansen Brothers from Slap Shot.


Exactly! :^D

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December 22, 2011  03:11 PM ET

Good luck, gentlemen.

I'm looking forward to seeing if Sweetness85, Schad - The Scooter, or BMcrapsalot (can't type that with a straight face) will join williewilliejuan and Stoymy Rottman in the NBAT Finals.

The Finals will kick off with the New Year.

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December 22, 2011  04:14 PM ET

I'll get my next arg in first thing in the morning, today got real busy. we should be able to finish this up tomorrow though.

December 22, 2011  05:28 PM ET

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December 23, 2011  10:32 AM ET

I adore Shad!

And I'm what, chopped liver?

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December 23, 2011  11:00 AM ET

Damn it's difficult submitting arguments from a phone...


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