DALLAS — It’s already a big night in Dallas.
The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks are opening the season at American Airlines Center, which already comes with its share of nerves for younger players. But for Brett and Nick Ritchie, this game is even bigger.
The brothers will play against each other for the first time in the NHL. Nick, a left wing, will be skating on the Ducks top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Brett, a right wing, will work on Dallas’ third unit with Radek Faksa and Antoine Roussel.
Both brothers spoke about opening the season against their brother at Thursday’s morning skate.
What’s it mean to play against your brother in the NHL?
Brett: “It’s obviously something you think about growing up, you want to make the NHL. We thought it would be cool to play against each other and that’s what we said when we were younger. Either play with him or against him the best league in the world. It’s obviously a huge game for it be on opening night it ups it a little more I think. It’ll be fun for sure.”
Nick: “As kids your always picturing yourself playing in the NHL with each other or against each other, depending on which team you’re on. I guess this is the day is the day that’s come and it makes it even more fitting that it’s opening night. Going to be a lot of excitement out there for everyone, but for us it’s going to be a one-in-a-lifetime experience since it’s the first time. Hopefully it’s one of many. At least there will be one.”
You’ve played against each other in the AHL, how does this compare?
Nick: “That was cool as well playing in that league. But obviously this is the NHL, this is the highest league. It’s obviously even more special.”
Who will your parents be rooting for tonight?
Nick: “I’m sure they’ll be cheering for both teams and probably hoping for a tie, but I guess that can’t happen anymore. Maybe an overtime game. Obviously I want to win and he wants to win.”
How do the Ritchie brothers compare as players?
Brett: “Very similar, same sort of stature and same style of play. I think that was luck of the draw, how we were built. Sort of easy playing the same style when you’re both learning off each other. It’ll be interesting.”
Any chance you ask to be put on the ice at the same time?
Brett: “I don’t know if I have that much pull. I’ll [let] Lindy worry about that, but if I get out there against him that be cool. I’m a right winger he’s a left, so we usually line up on the draws and stuff and it’s usually pretty fun when I play him.”
To get an answer to that last question, we asked Lindy Ruff during his post-morning skate media scrum.
“I joked this morning. I saw (Nick) fight somebody in preseason, maybe they could go at it. Have a brotherly fight. I think there is going to be some healthy competition there. You’re playing, your brother is on the other side and you don’t want your brother to out do you. So I think it will work well,” Ruff said.
Dallas gets the last change at home, does that go into Ruff’s thought process?
“If (Nick) starts acting up I’ll have to get the matchup.”