Adam and Jesper Boqvist spent their entire childhood playing hockey together, mostly going head-to-head in their basement. Jesper often came on top in those battles, as the older brother normally does.
"I always won," Jesper said. "And he got pissed."
"I had a tough time down there," Adam said. "But he's two years older than me so he's been growing a little bit more muscle than me. I hope I can take him down one day down there."
Adam may not ever get a chance for revenge in the basement, but he will get his first opportunity in the NHL against Jesper on Monday when the Blackhawks take on the New Jersey Devils at the United Center.
"At the end of the day it's Blackhawks vs. the Devils," Adam said. "But of course it's the first time I'm playing against him, it's going to be a lot of fun."
Jesper was taken in the second round (No. 37 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft but didn't break into the pros until this season like Adam, who was selected No. 8 overall in 2018. The two of them are each trying to establish larger roles with their respective clubs as rookies.
Jesper has only three points (all goals) in 21 games and was a healthy scratch on Saturday but will start on the top line against the Blackhawks. Adam, who has one goal and two assists in 13 games, was recently promoted to the top pairing with Duncan Keith and is coming off a game in which he logged 17:34 of ice time, his second-highest total of the season.
Jesper is known to be a playmaker who can play any of the three forward positions while Adam has a higher ceiling. And they're both growing into their own.
"A lot of fun, for sure," Jesper said of watching Adam's progression. "And you're proud, too. ... As a player, offensively skilled. He's growing his defensive game too, getting stronger and can bounce guys off the puck. It's fun to see."
Adam and Jesper communicate frequently, but the last time they saw each other was in August at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase. The schedule aligned perfectly for their parents to make the trip to Chicago and celebrate the three-day holiday break as a family, with the four of them heading to New York after the game.
But first thing's first: The Boqvist Bowl between a younger brother looking for some bragging rights and an older brother hoping to pick up where things left off in the basement.
"A little bit cocky growing up," a smiling Jesper said of Adam. "He's a little bit grown up now. It's fun."
Adam, who isn't shy about showing his personality, didn't deny that.
"I'm talking a little bit more than him," Adam said. "I think I got a bigger mouth than him there. He's a great hockey player and it's going to be a lot of fun."
Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.