Saturday I caught up with Hurricanes forward Brandon Sutter and got his thoughts on the season, his hockey family and much more!
RLD: The team is sitting at .500, lurking in the playoff picture… where do you see where this team is right now? Brandon Sutter: I think we’re in a pretty good spot, but we need to get on a roll here and put together a few wins here before Christmas. Going into the New Year we’d like to be a couple games above .500 and get in that top eight. We’ve set ourselves up that if we put together some wins we’ll be in good shape. RLD: Where do you feel your personal game is right now? Sutter: It’s good. The last few weeks we’ve been playing some pretty good hockey as a line, and playing strong defensively, which is kind of our main thing. We’re starting to create some offense and score goals, so so far so good.
RLD: Now you grew up in a hockey family… did you look up to your dad or uncles when you were younger? Sutter: Yeah, I grew up watching my dad when I was younger, so I’ve kind of been around the game forever, always being a part of it somehow. That’s just kind of the way it was.
RLD: What was it like when the organization traded for your cousin Brett recently? Sutter: It was really cool. We played together in junior for two years; so I’ve played with him before. Hopefully there comes a day where we get a shot to play together here. When that day comes, it will be pretty fun.
RLD: You were young in your rookie year, and your second year was a lot better, production wise at least. What changed in between those years? Sutter: My first year, I was kind of stuck not playing a lot of minutes, so I needed to go down to the American League and play a little bit… which was probably good for me. But coming back the next year, I think I was just a little more mature and felt I ready to play at this level. Once they gave me a chance I never looked back and so far it’s gone pretty well.
RLD: After suffering a concussion in your rookie year, what are your thoughts on how the league is cracking down on head-shots and trying to eliminate them the best they can? Sutter: I definitely think it’s responsibility by the league and the players to do whatever they can to prevent them. The last four or five years, the researchers kind of knew it and we’ve come a long way. Obviously there’s more to do, but I think some of the rules and blindside hits – if we can avoid those we’re in good shape.
RLD: Pretty cool that the team is hosting the All-Star Game this year? Sutter: Yeah definitely. The fans are pretty excited about it. Having the game in Raleigh is probably something no one could ever have imagined. It’s pretty cool and I know the guys playing in it will have a lot of fun there.
RLD: What kind of hobbies do you like to do off the ice? Sutter: In the summer I like spending time on the lake or golfing. During the season, not a whole lot of free time, so we just relax and try to find things that keep us busy.
Be on the lookout this week for a Q&A with Jeff Skinner and ‘Canes coach Paul Maurice.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.