OTTAWA -- The media swarmed the lockers of both Nick and Marcus Foligno here today in advance of tonight's Sabres-Senators matchup. While it will be Nick's 303rd NHL game, it will be the career debut for Marcus, the 20-year-old who was a standout for Team Canada in last year's World Junior Championships in Buffalo and got the call from Rochester last night.
The Folignos said they expect nearly three dozen friends and family to make the 5-hour drive from Sudbury, Ont., to the game. Included will be dad Mike Foligno, the former Sabres captain who was just fired as an assistant with Anaheim.
"[Nick] was pretty pumped. He was texting me all day yesterday to see if I was getting called up," Marcus Foligno said. "He was giving me advice. He's been doing that all year. He's excited and told me to prepare myself."
"It's a pretty neat opportunity for both of us," said Nick, who is third on the Senators with 10 goals. "I got to play against my dad last year and now my brother and hopefully we can do that for a long time. We're very fortunate to be able to do this and his first game against me is pretty exciting for the whole family."
The trash talking started a little too. Nick said "he's ugly" when asked about Marcus and Marcus responded with "I got the better looks in the family" and "definitely family members like me more."
Through all the laughs, there is deeper meaning to the game. Mike Foligno's wife and the brothers' mother, Janis, died of breast cancer in 2009.
"We think it's probably the best Christmas present we ever got," Nick said of the brothers matchup. "We feel like my Mom probably had a little something to do with that. It's pretty special."
"The family as a whole has gone through some tough times here in recent years," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "To have Marcus play against Nick and for Mike to be here, a former teammate of mine and he's a helluva guy. Both kids are great kids. It's a great family.
"For both his boys to be able to play in the NHL, you gotta be one proud father. In this situation, unfortunately he gets to watch in his case [because he got fired in Anaheim] but he's going to be smiling from ear to ear sitting up in the stands watching this one."
Marcus Foligno said he probably would have to do his father's patented jumping stomp if he scored a goal (Nick did it for his first NHL goal). Cracked Ruff: "If Marcus scores I'll do the leap. Put the camera on the bench, boys."
Here's the audio from Nick and Marcus. Check back in a few minutes with another post featuring Ruff's injury updates.
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