Hockey

Svechnikov Brothers Face-off for the First Time

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On Thursday night, Evgeny Svechnikov of the Detroit Red Wings finally got the chance to play on the same ice like his brother Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes. While this is not the first time the two brothers from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia have had the chance to play together, it was their first time facing off in the NHL.

The older Svechnikov brother has not had the easiest road to try to make the Red Wings roster. In 2018, the 24-year-old injured his knee, causing him to miss the entire 2018-2019 season. Furthermore, the Red Wings front office and coaching staff has not let Svechnikov develop in the Red Wings’ system correctly. Perhaps the Red Wings front office does not see Svechnikov as part of their future once they are done rebuilding the roster. Injuries are just part of the reason that the team might decide to move on from the elder Svechnikov.

The Hurricanes Svechnikov has said that his brother has the better shot. He must have been out to prove that he could shoot the puck too, scoring on a wrist shot that was in the perfect spot so that Jonathan Bernier could not stop it. This would be the first of five goals that the Hurricanes would score.

Unfortunately, the most infamous example of this was in October of 2019, when the Red Wings’ Svechnikov was scratched by head coach Jeff Blashill just days ahead of an anticipated matchup against the Hurricanes. This was not the right thing to do. The Svechnikov family flew into Detroit to attend the game. The coronavirus made sure that this could not happen in 2021, but the family was sure to be watching when the game started at 3:00 AM.

The Red Wings have hindered the development of Svechnikov by constantly bringing him up and sending him down between levels. Svechnikov needs to remain with one team in the Red Wings’ system in order to continue his development in a manner that gives him the best chance of becoming an everyday NHL player someday. Svechnikov must have been disappointed by this decision, given how hard he worked to get back to being healthy.

“He needs to go down and play and have more than seven to twelve minutes that he’s getting up here,” head coach Blashill at the time, following a Red Wings three to one victory over the Edmonton Oilers. “He’s a great kid, he works hard, he wants to be a player extremely bad. Go down and keep doing a real good job, make sure you’re paying attention to detail in your game and find a way to have an impact shift in and shift out.”

Svechnikovs Not the Only Pair of Brothers on the Ice During Thursday’s Game

The Svechnikovs were the second set of brothers playing in the game. Both Marc Staal of the Red Wings and Jordan Staal of the Hurricanes also played. This was not the first time the two Staal brothers had played against each other, but it was special nonetheless. It is too bad that the third Staal brother in the NHL, Eric, did not get to experience this special night. He also played for the Hurricanes, only appearing in two games for the team during the 2012-2013 season. The Staals are certainly a hockey family.

As with all records in the NHL, Wayne Gretzky is on top of the list of most combined points scored by brothers in the history of the league. Gretzky’s brother Brent Gretzky also played in the league for a total of 13 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The two combined for 2,861 points. Yes, Wayne did have 2,857 of these 2,861, but this is how most of these “brotherly” duos’ careers go, and none-more-so than the Gretzky brothers.

Both Svechnikov brothers wear the number 37 for their NHL teams. This is not only because the two are extremely close, talking on the phone twice a day, but also because of their religious beliefs. The two Svechnikovs never thought they would be in position to play hockey at the highest level together, but they both had faith that things would work out.

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