Sibling Revelry: Hayes vs. Hayes in classic Original Six duel
“That’s the game everyone is talking about,” Jimmy Hayes told Bruins Daily last month. “So I put it on my dad. If you need tickets, call my dad. He’ll take care of you.”
After Boston shipped Reilly Smith to South Florida last June in exchange for Jimmy Hayes – and the NHL schedule came out in mid summer – November 27 was circled on many a Hayes’ family and Dorchester calendar for official Boston bragging rights.
Way back it was the Esposito’s – Phil with Boston and brother Tony with Chicago. The last few years the Smith’s — Brendan wearing the red and white as a Red Wing and Reilly in black and gold.
The day after Thanksgiving it’s the Hayes’ brothers.
While all three sets of these brothers squared off against each other on Garden ice, only the latter hailed from nearby. It was Hayes vs. Hayes at TD Garden Friday afternoon, a slapshot away from their hometown of Dorchester just down the Southeast Expressway.
Yes, they met previously as NHL players – make that opponents — on a handful of occasions last year when Jimmy played for Florida and Kevin for the Rangers.
“The Rangers won, and Jimmy scored,” their dad told NESN about the meeting between the two last New Year’s Eve. “So that was good.”
They met again on September 24 in a preseason tune-up with Boston prevailing, 4-3, in a shootout and Kevin scoring for New York.
“If I play soft on him he’ll make me look silly,” Jimmy said after about the compete level, “and I don’t think I’d hear the end of that for the rest of the year.”
Kevin held the advantage at 3-0 into their fourth NHL encounter – first in their “neighborhood.”
The tale of the tape for these prototype power forwards is as close as their relationship.
Kevin is the younger at 23 to older bro’ Jimmy at 26. Not a lot difference in size, but Kevin has that slight edge at 6 foot 5, 227 to Jimmy’s 6 foot 5 and 215. Both carved their NHL path at Boston College. Kevin from 2010-2014, winning a national championship in 2012; Jimmy from 2008-2011 with a national title in 2010. They played one season at the “Heights” in 2010-11.
Their NHL routes?
Kevin was drafted at No. 24 overall in 2010 by Chicago; Jimmy 60th by Toronto in 2008. Last year was Kevin’s rookie season with a 17-28-45 total in 79 games; he’s at 6-8-14 in 22 games into Friday. Jimmy played 2011-2014 with the Blackhawks, and then the last two seasons with Florida. His best NHL season was last year with 19-16-35 in 72 games with the Panthers; thus far 4-7-11 in his first 22 games on Causeway Street.
Thanksgiving week 2015 has been special leading into Friday’s showdown.
“Home together first time in several years,” Jimmy told NESN last week as the two bantered — and mom added some insight to the sibling rivalry. “We’ve always had some battles no matter if mini hockey in the basement or street hockey up the street or even whiffle ball.”
“He won’t admit it but I’m far superior to him in anything,” Kevin exclaimed.
“He thinks he’s the better athlete,” Jimmy countered. “We almost had “best athlete day” the other day. But he was too scared to go with it.”
“They’ve had some good matches; some ended in fisticuffs,” Shelagh Hayes said about her boys. “But that’s brothers.”
The brothers squared off for two points Friday; Boston’s Hayes wearing No. 11 and the Rangers’ Hayes No. 13. The Bruins winners of four straight; the Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division.
Ironically they were within one second of playing time in the first period at 4:44 to 4:43 as Boston jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Patrice Bergeron’s eighth goal of the year at 14:15.
Jimmy would get the jump on those bragging rights, sliding a pass to a streaking Brett Connolly from the right point on a second-period power play, snapping a nine-game scoring slump. Connolly ripped a wrister past Henrik Lundqvist to knot the game at 2-2. Goals by Oscar Lindberg and Rick Nash had spotted the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
Make that a 3-1 advantage for Kevin Hayes when Boston won the game in dramatic fashion by scoring two goals in less than two minutes to erase a 3-2 Rangers’ lead late in the third period. First, Ryan Spooner at 16:14 on the power play — and then David Krejci at 18:17 for the game winner.
The final Hayes’ log would read one assist for Jimmy in 12:00 of ice time; no points for Kevin with one shot and two hits in 13:10.
How big was the Hayes’ caravan up the Expressway this morning?
“Probably well over 40 or 50 people,” Jimmy said postgame. “Yeah, [my dad] got the suite going. Probably sits 20 but there’s probably 40 in there so.”
You pay, Jimmy?
“I didn’t. I dodged that one. It’s a lot of hype inside the house when we’re on the schedule.”
That would next be January 11 at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s pretty cool when we were growing up dreaming of playing in the NHL,” Kevin said. “To be able to do it together is pretty cool.”