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They're simply two of a kind
Sunday, October 7, 2001
by JENN MENENDEZ
Portland Press Herald Writer
The Ferraro twins, Chris and Peter, always have had something to prove.
In their childhood in a suburban neighborhood on Long Island, N.Y., it was that a couple of 5-foot-10 guys could make it in a sport — hockey — that's not particularly high on the list of most New York kids.
In their years apart in pro hockey, it was to show they can play without each other, that Chris isn't lost without Peter, that Peter isn't lost without Chris.
And this season, the two forwards — dynamic playmakers and prolific scorers at the American Hockey League level — are trying to prove they can do more than just excel in the minors.
The smooth-talking brothers, identical except for a chip on one of Chris' front teeth, have wavered between the NHL and minor leagues for seven seasons.
Now that they've been reunited on the Portland Pirates and will play on the same line — with their "best friend" — they will use their eighth season to prove themselves in the AHL, and return to the big time.
"I think with or without each other you always have something to prove. Resumes are nice. What's in the past are great memories," said Peter, who was signed by the Washington Capitals in August.
"But you can never let your guard down. It's no secret, hockey, like anything, is a business. Organizations want to know what you can do for them today, not yesterday.
"It will always be my goal, whether I play two more years or 10, getting to play in the NHL."
The Capitals will come calling to Portland at some point; injuries always provide a chance. And the Ferraros will be among five to six players likely to get called. They are expected to be among the Pirates' top scorers and nightly contributors.
Chris will center a line with Peter on the wing. And they readily accept the expectations.
"My theory is if you do it one year, you have to do it the next and continue to do it," said Chris, who was acquired from New Jersey less than a month after Peter signed.
"You don't want to be known as a player who had one great year, disappeared . . . There are plenty of players out there in this league and the NHL who put up good numbers year after year. That's a focus of ours, a goal to maintain that."
They've played their best together.
"I think my brother and I have a uniqueness that comes with the territory of being twins," said Peter. "We certainly think alike. We do have a sense of one another on the ice and read off one another very well."
After all, they've been inseparable from early on, playing on the same teams into their mid-20s.
The Ferraros got their start in pro hockey when they were drafted by the New York Rangers in 1992.
They played together at the University of Maine for a season — helping the Black Bears win the 1993 NCAA championship as freshmen — then on the U.S. national team.
Peter played on the 1994 Olympic team, Chris was one of the last two players cut.
Then they spent two pro seasons together, splitting time between the Rangers and their AHL team in Binghamton, N.Y. From there they were split up and periodically together.
They are almost indistinguishable off the ice, but of course have their own personalities.
"I'm a little more structured, and in a way more disciplined," said Chris. "I think sometimes I'm a little too intense. He's a little more loose and makes me laugh. I keep him structured. It's a good combination."
They're highly competitive by nature and were very competitive with each other as youngsters. Now they are remarkably less so (with each other) as their careers have become more important.
Each is quick to point out the strengths of the other.
"We're more supportive now," said Chris, "but we're always going to have that little competition.
"We go out and play basketball, yeah, I want to beat him. If we're on the golf course and he misses a 3-foot putt and says 'Oh, I'm gonna give my- self that,' I'm going to give it to him."
They spend almost all of their free time together. And they have vaults of eerie twin stories. Here's one:
"Two years ago we were playing in Providence, true story," said Chris. "The Islanders had loaned me to Providence. We played together three games, he sprained his ankle."
Peter was out for four weeks with a high ankle sprain. Right after returning he reinjured it and was out another six weeks.
"Just after that, no joke, for two days straight I'm walking around like this," said Chris, hunching over and favoring his right leg. "Limping like this. I was really nervous. I'm like, 'what the . . . is going on here.'
"It was the same ankle. Same spot, high up by your Achilles heel. After that it went away. It was the weirdest thing I ever experienced."
The two come from a five-child family. Their parents started a sporting-goods store and built it into a chain of five around Long Island.
"Our family is very disciplined, hard-working and focused," said Chris. "We developed our work ethic through them."
What they do this year, they said, is up to them.
"We just want to provide a contribution wherever we fit in," said Peter.
Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be
contacted at 791-6426 or at: