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Benn brothers set for first matchup in NHL

Jamie Benn to play Jordie Benn after defenseman was traded from Stars to Canadiens

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / Senior Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Jamie Benn and Jordie Benn have never played an organized hockey game against each other.

And while Jamie and the Dallas Stars will face Jordie and the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNE, RDS, FS-SW, NHL.TV), the brother-on-brother matchup might never materialize.

"Probably when he steps on the ice I'll get yelled at to get off," Jordie said after Canadiens practice Monday. "So I'll be on the bench watching him play."

Jordie, 29, was traded from the Stars to the Canadiens on Feb. 27 for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, separating him from his younger brother, Jamie, 27, for the first time in their NHL careers.

While growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, the Benn brothers always either played on the same minor hockey team or in different age groups, so they never had a chance to face each other.

That will change Tuesday, and no matter what Jordie thinks, there will surely be a time when he will be on the ice, will look up and see his younger brother coming at him.

Video: OTT@MTL: Benn's one-timer finds twine off defenseman

It will be strange, but in another sense it won't because when they were kids, any time the brothers played ball hockey or shinny they were always on opposite teams.

"It was fun competing with him growing up," Jamie said Monday. "We're pretty close and we're ultra-competitive. I'm sure you'll see much of that [Tuesday] too."

Pretty close might be an understatement, considering Jamie and Jordie Benn have spoken or been in contact nearly every day since the trade, which Jordie learned about while with his younger brother in the house they shared.

Now, after years of playing in his younger brother's shadow with the Stars, Jordie is forging his own identity in Montreal as a key member of the Canadiens defense, solidifying their third pairing and playing with Shea Weber on the top penalty-killing unit.

"A lot of people say the only reason I made it was because of him," Jordie said of his brother. "But I think I've done enough hard work in my life to prove to people that I'm an NHL hockey player. I'm just living a dream and I'm here. You can't say, getting traded to the Montreal Canadiens, that Jamie got me here."

But Jordie was quick to make it clear that he had no problem being known as Jamie's brother when they were both with the Stars.

"There's that shadow aspect of it because he's such a superstar and it's the player that he is, but I'm not the type of person that cares too much about that stuff," Jordie said. "I want him to be the most successful he can be. If I had to live in a shadow I'm perfectly fine living in his. He's an awesome guy and an awesome brother."

Video: SJS@DAL: Benn uses silky hands to beat Dell

How awesome? Jordie's arrival in Montreal has made Jamie into a closet Canadiens fan.

"I've been watching almost every game, it gives me something to do when we're not playing," Jamie said. "I even found myself following the Canadiens on Twitter now."

The Benn brothers' parents will not be at Bell Centre to watch the first showdown between their two sons. Their father, Randy, is in Dallas taking care of Jordie's dogs. Their mother, Heather, is back home in Victoria and Jordie told both his parents the trip was too long to justify taking in one game.

But they'll be watching on television, and though neither Jordie nor Jamie knew where their allegiance would lie in the game, Jordie knew their frame of mind while watching will be completely different.

"My dad probably won't feel much, he's taking care of my dogs [in Dallas] so he'll just be hanging out on the couch," he said. "My mom will be a nervous wreck."

Canadiens coach Claude Julien, who will have the last change as the home team Tuesday, said he wasn't big on handing out favors like making sure Jordie gets a steady dose of Jamie during the game, especially with Montreal still trying to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But Julien said even if Jordie doesn't get to shut down his brother on the ice, he would welcome his contributions off the ice.

"We know we're lucky to have Jordie with us because he's really given us stability on defense," Julien said. "But we all know his brother is a very good hockey player. So if he can help us by giving us tips on how to slow his brother down, we'll certainly take it."

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