Brandon Sutter, a center who was chosen No. 11 in the first round of the 2007 Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, is one of 21 players within the organization attending the NHL Prospects Tournament this week in Traverse City, Mich. Sutter, the son of Calgary Flames coach Brent, has agreed to give an inside look at the tournament both on and off the ice. Return to NHL.com for more of Brandon Sutter's Traverse City blog throughout the week.
Sutter scores shorty in Championship victory
09.10.2009 / 09:15 PM ET
Well, it's all over and we were fortunate to come out on top. We obviously realized this tournament was a good start of the year for all of us since it gave us an opportunity to play and, if you're going to be here, well you might as well try and win. We treated the final like any other game. I think we had a really good game in our win against Minnesota (4-1) so we'll take it.
But it certainly wasn't easy. Minnesota is a pretty quick skilled team. They have a lot of speed up front and they came out shooting and had a lot of shots on net. But I think after 10-15 minutes, we kind of weathered the storm and we just kind of stayed with it and kept getting better as we went along so I think, in the end, you can say we had a pretty good game.
Zach Boychuk gave us a 2-1 lead when he just took off from the neutral zone. I think their defenseman came in or something and Zach saw a chance to jump and he did. Not many guys will be able to catch Zach when he gets a full head of steam. It was nice playing on the same line with him because we've played together before on Team Canada and stuff so it's nice to see a familiar face out there and we're good friends so our chemistry is good. It was a good tournament and I thought the two of us played well.
I was able to notch a goal tonight too. I just kind of saw a chance to jump (while shorthanded). Our defender blocked the shot and the puck came lose and a couple of the guys pinched in and I just kind of chipped it by him and went down. One guy drove the net and I just tried to get a shot and pick a corner and it went in.
Overall, it was a great tournament, especially for the guys who just got drafted and who are only 17 or 18 because it's a great opportunity to get your feet wet and see what the talent's like. There's a big step for all of us beyond this, but for a lot of guys it's their first taste and all of us can probably say we had a great tournament.
Thanks for reading this week. It's back to Carolina now!
First loss of the tournament
09.09.2009 / 06:15 PM ET
We just finished up our game with Atlanta (a 7-3 loss) and I'll get to that in a minute.
We had a good off day on Tuesday. We got a nice little sleep, got some breakfast and then came to the rink for a good skate. There were eight of us who went out and played some golf following practice on Tuesday afternoon, so it turned out to be a pretty good evening.
Harrison Reed and Chris Terry won the couples' match so they took that. I was paired with Nick Dodge.
Our game against Atlanta on Wednesday didn't go so well. It certainly wasn't the best of our efforts, but they came out pretty hard and got a good start and we couldn't play catch up. We came close a few times and had some chances but they played pretty well and so did their goalie, so it was a tough game.
I'm not sure how they work the ruling but I think we could be in the final game. So if we are, maybe we'll have a chance to win it. This has been a good tournament overall. It's a chance for a lot of guys to get their feet wet and it's a good way to start the year before main camp.
I'll post a recap after our final game tomorrow.
Thanks for reading,
Breaking down win over Detroit
09.08.2009 / 12:45 PM ET
Checking in from Traverse City just prior to our Tuesday practice.
On Monday, we had the pregame skate in the morning for about 20 minutes just to kind of get the legs moving again. Then, during the day we all just kind of relaxed and enjoyed the day. It's a little tiring early in the season while we get back into it during the first few days here.
We played pretty well in the game against Detroit on Monday and won so that was good.
I think we probably played a better game the previous night (against the Rangers) but (Detroit) played pretty well. They have some pretty good players and good skilled forwards. We kind of sat back early and they came at us the first half of the game. Once we got to the second period we kind of relaxed and starting playing a little better.
In the third period, we managed to get a few goals and not give up anything. I thought we played well and it was a good win for us so we're in pretty good shape right now (at 2-0). I thought (goalie) Mike Murphy saved everything and made it look so easy -- obviously he helped us with the win. I think the game could have gotten away from us if it weren't for him.
It was a pretty good day for us and after the game we went back to the hotel, changed and went out for dinner at North Peak in downtown Traverse City. Good food and it was a nice capper to the night.
Thanks for reading,
Excited about chances
09.07.2009 / 01:42 PM ET
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog while here at the prospects tournament in Traverse City. I'll try and keep you updated as best I can during the week so check back often.
I came in on Friday, practiced on Saturday and then we played our first game on Sunday. The first day wasn't too bad -- it was a good practice and then we got to hang around and get some rest. Our first game (a 5-3 victory over the Rangers) was good; we won the game so that's definitely the way you want to start things.
I played alongside Zach Boychuk and Matt Kennedy and we played good. We had some chances and we each got a goal, so that was nice for us. I think a lot of these guys have never played at this level or the professional level at all, so this is a great experience. It's good to play against some guys who are my age and I'm just looking forward to doing well in this tournament and then getting after the real thing in a couple of weeks (at training camp).
I know I played a lot of games in Carolina last year but I'm not taking anything for granted. There are a lot of guys in camp, so you can't worry about that and just have to go out and play. I think if I play well, I'll have a chance to earn a roster spot with Carolina, but it's up to management to decide that.
I know people have been saying we have a very good team here in Traverse, but it is early. I do think we played pretty well (against the Rangers) and hope we can keep it going. I do feel we have a pretty good team here and some good players. It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Thanks for reading,