The occasion of brothers facing off in the NHL is far from unusual, and the NHL schedule has delivered a rash of those games lately.
Last week alone saw the first-ever NHL meetings between Chris and Anthony Stewart and Brayden and Luke Schenn, and while those four have officially begun their career-long battles for NHL bragging rights, if they want any indication of how they should handle their family rivalries they might want to direct their attention on Minnesota tonight, when Mikko Koivu of the Wild and Saku Koivu of the Ducks will face off for the 10th time in their NHL careers.
The brothers from Turku, Finland, have had many memories on the ice together, from the Olympics, where both of them suited up for the national team in 2006 and 2010, to being on opposite benches in the NHL. There is a notable age difference between the two -- Saku is more than eight years Mikko's senior -- so their number of matchups may be fewer than most, but with Saku approaching the latter stages of his career as he turns 37 next month, it is almost certain that the pair has more games against each other behind them than in front of them.
Saku and Mikko have both proven dependable centers over the course of their respective careers and while Saku's career totals exceed Mikko's significantly at this point, the two have been productive at an eerily similar rate. Saku's 741 career points over 15-plus seasons with Montreal and Anaheim have come at a rate of roughly .78 points per game. In 441 career games, all with Minnesota, Mikko has 320 points, which have come at a rate of .72 points per game -- meaning should Mikko play as long as Saku does, he's likely to end his career in the same neighborhood.