Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Bures, the Sedins and fraternal scoring supremacy

After years of poring over stats upon stats upon stats, one begins to accumulate what I refer to as 'trivia records'. They have little significance or relevance and typically only represent unique scenarios that don't really reflect what the NHL is like as a whole.

For example, the "brothers record". Perhaps you too have once been told that Wayne and Brent Gretzky hold the all-time record for career points by a pair of siblings at 2,861 -- Brent's contribution being a whole 4 points. Puts a different spin on Gretzky's dominance in the league, I suppose, but ultimately, this record yields about zero relevancy in terms of its ability to illustrate the history of actual brother tandems in the league.
Pavel and Valeri in their lone season
together in Florida.

Enter Pavel Bure and his younger brother, DJ Tanner's husband Valeri. While there is a pretty sizable disparity in skill between the Bures, it is far smaller than that between the Gretzkys. As such, a record held by the two of them might actually have some relevancy. And wouldn't you know it, in 1999-2000, Pavel and Valeri combined for 93 goals in a single season -- a league-leading 54 from Pavel and 35 from Valeri. As a result, they topped a rather legendary pair of brothers in Bobby and Dennis Hull, surpassing their previous mark of 88 goals, set in 1968-69.

It's not among the most significant records in NHL history, but you can see how it has a bit more relevance than the Gretzkys' 2,861 points. Pavel and Valeri's record gives you a legitimate comparison between two sets of the all-time best brother tandems. To give it some further context, Frank and Peter Mahovlich's best combined total was 78 goals in 1971-72.

So between the Bures, Hulls and Mahovliches, there are some real tangible marks that allow you to compare the brothers' collective efficacy in the NHL. So then. I'm sure you could have imagined where this was headed. Given that Vancouver has played host for the past decade to one of the greatest brother shows in NHL history, where do Henrik and Daniel Sedin's best numbers rank in this regard?

Immediately there's a caveat, as the Sedins are both playmakers more than anything else. As such, their best combined total is a somewhat distant 60 goals (Daniel, 41; Henrik 19), achieved in 2010-11. Still impressive, but it would appear that the Bures definitely have the upper hand on the Sedins in goal-scoring.

What about points, then? And better yet, what about all-time points? At this point in their career, the Sedins have put some serious time in the league -- most of it as consistent point-per game players. How do they rank against the Bures, Hulls and Mahovliches in this area? What about the Richards or the Stastnys?

On an all-time basis, then, the Sedins rank 11th in terms of overall production, while Pavel and Valeri rank 21st. It's interesting to note that the Sedins are just beyond another Canucks brother duo in Geoff and Russ Courtnall.

But if you eliminate all of the duos who really shouldn't be considered legitimate duos (to set a standard, say... all those in which one brother's total doubles the other's), it looks like the Sedins rank more like fifth overall, behind the Richards, Mahovliches, Stastnys and Hulls. And that's with about a third of their careers still ahead of them.

In fact, it would be no exaggeration to assume that by the time Henrik and Daniel call it a career, they will be the second-highest producing brothers in NHL history, behind just Wayne and Brent. And because we all know that calling the Gretzkys a "duo" is just plain ridiculous, the Sedins are likely shaping up to be the greatest legitimate combination of all-time.

Sorry, Pavel. I realize this is supposed to be a Bure article, but I suppose anytime the greatest Canucks of all-time are discussed, the Sedins tend to make an appearance.

So there you have it. As is the case in the Canucks' record books, Bure's supreme talent over a shortened career results in a single-season record with brother Valeri, while the Sedins' longevity and consistency is parlayed into some heady all-time positioning. A pair of trivia records that actually mean something -- go figure.


See the rest of BTD's Bure series:

Oct 24 Pavel Bure's Top 10 Goals as a Vancouver Canuck
Oct 25 Top 10 honourable mentions
Oct 26 Bure, Ovechkin and other All-Star voting fallacies
Oct 27 The staying power of Bure's 60-goal record
Oct 28 Pavel Bure and the progression of the Canucks' point-scoring record
Oct 31 The long-term implications of Bure to Florida
Nov 3 Gretzky on Malhotra-for-Bure: "I would not have retired"
Nov 3 Bure night: Trevor, the wife and Ron frickin' MacLean


  1. I think the measure you want here is what's called the "geometric mean": rather than adding the brothers' points (which is equivalent to averaging them), take the square root of their product. So that's around 106.9 for the Gretzkys, 1004.7 for the Richards, 790.3 for the Sedins, and a satisfying 0 for the Messiers.

    1. if it gives the messiers a zero, i'm for it! very cool -- thanks.

  2. There were three Stasny brothers. You forgot Marian Stasny. He had almost 300 points in the NHL over 5 seasons. That moves them into second place all time.

    1. this is true, but i purposefully took just the top two stastny brothers, so that the measure is even across all pairs of brothers. you're right though, the three of them combined would have definitely upped their position. ditto the sutters.