HOCKEY IS A FAMILY TRADITION FOR PENGUINS
by Shannon Boyle
For the Pittsburgh Penguins, hockey is a family game.
With the Chicago Blackhawks in Pittsburgh tonight, two brothers go head-to-head as Pittsburgh’s Jarkko Ruutu’s battles his younger brother Tuomo Ruutu of Chicago.
Tuomo was drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round in 2001. This year marks his third season in the NHL wearing a Chicago sweater. The 6-foot, 200-pound center has 28 points (12+16) on the season.
And, there is third, Mikko. He’s the middle middle brother of the three. He was drafted in 1999 in the seventh round by Ottawa. Mikko does not currently play in the NHL. He played several seasons in his native Finland.
Like the Ruutu brothers, there is another group of three hockey siblings that were drafted.
Penguins center Dominic Moore has two brothers that played in the professional ranks. And, they all were teammates once.
Mark Moore, Dominic’s older brother, was drafted by the Penguins in 1997 in the seventh round. He spent part of the 2000-01 season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He also played for the Wheeling Nailers.
Mark, a defensive player, had an almost-perfect SAT score of 1590 and wrote a book “Saving the Game.” He currently lives in Toranto and helps with a summer hockey program for children.
Steve Moore was drafted by Colorado and spent parts of three seasons with the Avalanche. He played in 57 games in 2003-04 with 12 points (5+7) before he was severely injured.
Dominic got to skate one season with both his two older brothers while at Harvard in 1999-00.
Mark attended Harvard from 1996-2000, Steve attended from 1997-2001 and Dominic from 1999-2003.
Steve and Dominic are they only two brothers to be captains for Harvard.
There are more Penguins players with hockey in their blood.
Jordan Staal, the Penguins’ first-round pick in 2006 (second overall), has two older brothers who are members of the NHL family.
Eric Staal was drafted second overall by Carolina in 2003, one pick after Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury. The 22-year-old center won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and recently traveled to Dallas to participate in his first All-Star game. Jordan went along for the trip also, as he was a member of the Eastern Conference YoungStars team.
Eric currently has 23 goals and 25 assists on the year.
Marc Staal was picked 12th overall in 2005 by the New York Rangers. He currently plays in the OHL Sudbury Wolves. He has 27 points (5+22) this season.
Jared, the youngest Staal brother, might lace up his skates in the NHL someday also. He is a highly-touted prospect in the OHL.
Other Penguins that have brothers in hockey players are Brooks Orpik and Colby Armstrong.
Brooks’ younger brother, Andrew, plays for Boston College. He was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in 2007 in the seventh round. The forward has played in 22 games for Boston College this year and has six points (2+4) on the season.
Colby’s younger brother, Riley, was signed as a free agent in December 2004 by the San Jose Sharks. He currently plays for the Worchester Sharks in the AHL and has 21 points (13+8) this season.
Like father like son, or at least in the Crosby family.
Sidney Crosby’s father, Troy, was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1984 in the 12th round. Troy, a goalie, never played in the NHL.
In the Malone family, being a Penguin is tradition.
Ryan Malone’s father, Greg, was selected in the second round by the Penguins in 1976. He played with the Penguins from 1976-83. Greg also served as the Penguins’ head scout for 16 seasons. This is his first season working as a scout for the Phoneix Coyotes.
On Dec. 15, Ryan had his first career hat-trick against the Islanders. His dad had a hat-trick almost 20 years prior for the the Penguins in 1978-79. The Malones are the second father-son pair to record a hat trick for the same franchise. Ken Hodge Sr. and Ken Hodge Jr. did it for the Bruins.
Ryan is the first Pittsburgh-born and trained player to play in the NHL.
Mark Recchi’s brother might not be on the ice, but he is a member of the hockey community.
Mark’s brother, Matt, is in his second season as an amateur scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins. His primary focus is on players in western Canada.
Hockey really is in these Penguins’ blood.