TORONTO (AP) — Growing up in Toronto’s Mimico neighborhood, Brendan and Reilly Smith never played organized hockey together. Just everything else.
“We were always playing mini sticks or road hockey or shinny on the ice out on the rink, stuff like that,” Brendan Smith said. “We were always playing with or against each other.”
Inevitably, one-on-one games in the basement would get heated. If it was last goal wins, Reilly said older brother Brendan would often make sure they kept playing until he scored it.
It won’t be that easy when Brendan’s Detroit Red Wings take on Reilly’s Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They’ve met in the regular season, but this is a matchup the brothers and their parents hoped to avoid.
“We don’t like when they’re against each other,” Diedre Smith said of her sons on HBO’s “24/7” program in December. “We like it when they’re against other people.”
When the Red Wings were making their wild-card run last month, Reilly told Brendan to keep racking up the points to get the first spot and a matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins instead of his Bruins.
Reilly didn’t get his wish and the Bruins and Red Wings are meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 1957. Game 1 is Friday night in Boston.
The Red Wings won three of four meetings with the Bruins this season, including April 2 in Detroit to snap Boston’s streak of 16 games without a regulation loss. Reilly, a right wing, had an assist in each of those games, while Brendan, a defenseman, went without a point the three times he played against Boston.
“When Boston plays Detroit, we root for both of them to play well,” Lester Smith said on “24/7”.