Lashoff would love to face brother

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:44 PM ET

TORONTO - Matt Lashoff has jammed in the studio with brother Brian, now he’d like to compare chops in an NHL game.

But time is running out, with the two battling to stay on defence on their respective NHL teams, and camp down to just two head-to-head exhibitions this weekend.

“We’re both kind of crossing our fingers,” Matt Lashoff said Monday after the Leafs practiced at the MasterCard Centre. “(Brian) was around last year right until the end of camp and so was I, though I was injured.”

The two OHL-trained players are from the Albany, N.Y., area. Matt, the elder by four years and a former first-round pick of Boston in 2005, is now on his third NHL team. Brian is an inch taller at 6-foot-3 and heavier, but went unclaimed his draft year and now is trying to escape Detroit’s farm team.

“He plays a hard game and the way (the Wings) run their team, they bring guys along slowly,” Matt said. “But he’s right on track to eventually play in the NHL.

“It would be good not only to play each other, but it would be one of the last chances to show what we can do. It’s definitely a little added incentive to rub him out if you get him near the wall.”

Matt says his parents are keeping the weekend free in case he and his brother are in the lineup at the ACC or Joe Louis Arena, but Leafs coach Ron Wilson will be using his projected starting six defenceman at least one night and Lashoff isn’t likely in that plan.

“It’s hard to know for our parents,” Lashoff said. “They could make a mistake, come all the way in and find we’re both not playing.”

When Matt was with the Marlies at the start of last season, he played Brian’s Grand Rapids Griffins a couple of times and the brothers talk every day, an extension of their burgeoning music interests. Living On Heart, Matt’s first album, featured Brian on rhythm guitar for the track “Something I Know,” among well known guest musicians Leland Sklar and Waddy Wachtel.

“Music is something we’ve always shared and we remain close to each other,” the Leafs prospect said.

Their father played in a classic rock cover band and Lashoff says both he and his brother picked up various instruments that were strewn around the house.

“Our parents just let us go,” Lashoff recalled fondly. “We kind of taught ourselves just about everything. Since I was three-feet tall, I can remember getting up on stage and my Dad running around trying to kick me off. My Dad is a really good writer, too, but wanted us to learn what we enjoyed. He taught us a couple of chords and I just went from there, bombarded myself with Stevie Ray Vaughan records, front to back.

“Same thing with hockey. Dad always loved it, though he never played anything organized. He just gave us sticks and we loved it. We put our noses towards learning everything we could about it.”


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