By Jeff Riger

By Jeff Riger

I love having brothers, and growing up I’m sure I hated having brothers as well.  My two siblings and I were like any other family. We would fight, trash talk, play dirty all in hopes of beating the other ones — bad.  I can’t tell you how many injuries I suffered because of my brothers.  The good news was that I caused some, too.

Beating Dave and Eric, my brothers, in anything is what I used to live for and I think Wings defenseman Brendan Smith feels the same way.

Smith, however, is a lot more lucky.  Not only does he get to play in round one of the playoffs starting Friday in Boston, but he also gets to compete against his brother in the process.

Riley Smith is a forward for the Bruins, and a pretty good one too, scoring 20 goals and racking up 31 assists in 82 games this season.  He’s also the younger brother of Brendan.

Tuesday, when the Wings gathered for their first practice of the week, Smith was mobbed by reporters asking questions about Riley.

Q: What were you and Riley the most competitive about?

Smith: “The most competitive thing that we played was in our basement.  We would play 7 game series, but we never really got to the 7th game because there would be fighting or somebody got hurt and the parents would have to call it quits.  He’s really competitive and so am I and we don’t like to lose to each other.”

Huh, I guess all brothers are the same.  I couldn’t stand losing to my brothers either.

Q: So who will your parents be rooting for?

Smith: “We were trash talking each other on Twitter a little bit about that and him saying that Mom and dad will have their B’s jerseys out and I said that they’ll be in red.”

Q: Speaking of the jerseys, how will your parents decide which ones to wear?

Smith:  “Maybe B’s in Boston and Red’s here, I’m not sure how they’ll do it.  I’m not going to ask or speculate on anything.  I don’t know, It will be interesting, I’m just as interested as you guys are.

Me: My favorite thing about beating my brother in anything was the opportunity to talk smack afterwards.  I know this might shock you, but I very rarely beat my bro’s in anything, meaning that when I did I laid it on thick.  I didn’t care about hurting feelings or possible getting a punch thrown my way, I won, I deserved my moment.

I assume Smith feels the same way so I asked.

Me: “Will you trash talk your brother if you win this series?”

Smith: “Maybe a little bit, but not really.  This is totally different, it’s playoffs, you give it your all, it’s totally different.  It’s not like playing video games where you can trash talk all you want.  This is your job and I’ll give it to him a little bit, but I think it’s better to be a little bit modest.  Obviously if he scores the game winner in game 7, yeah he’s going to give it to me, I know he will, that’s something that will happen but we’re probably a little bit more modest about that.”

Up until Smith’s last answer, I felt exactly like he did about his relationship with his brother.  But I just can’t agree with that last answer.  There is nothing more I would liked than to beat my brothers in anything on a national stage — like Brendan will have a change to do to Riley. I would trash talk.  I would kick them while they were down. I would gloat for the rest of my life.

Good thing Brendan seems more classy about it than I am.

Unless he’s not telling the truth, that is…

I don’t believe the Wings will win the series, in fact I think Boston will take it in 5 or 6 games.  However, I really hope I’m wrong…  Not just because the Wings would get to advance in the playoffs or that it would be great for the fan base and city but also because I don’t want Brendan to have to put up with Riley talking smack only the irritating, obnoxious way only a brother can.

I’ve experienced it way too often, and if it was that bad for something that didn’t mean anything, I can’t imagine having to go through it for something the caliber of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

What about you?  Do you kick your brother when you beat him or do you take the high road?  Even if you won’t admit it, I think I know the real answer.


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