goalie Marty Turco made an incredible diving stick save 1:24 into the first period of Anaheim
’s 3-2 shootout win over the Stars last Sunday, you could have practically knocked Brian Sutherby over with a feather.
It was Sutherby who took the rebound shot that Turco miraculously knocked away, preventing a seemingly certain goal that would have meant the world to Sutherby.
The five-year veteran has yet to score his first goal as a Duck, failing to find the net in 43 games since Anaheim
traded for him back in November. His eyes lit up when the rebound from Marc-Andre Bergeron’s shot from the point came to him with nothing in front of him but a net as wide open as the Pacific. But Turco’s stick came out of nowhere to heartlessly bat the puck out of the air.
“At that point, I was hoping someone was going to slap me in the face and tell me it was a bad dream,” Sutherby said.
Even while it may seem to Sutherby that the net is fighting him, he doesn't let the frustrations of not scoring hinder his abilities in other areas of the game.
“Every day you’ve got to try to keep it together and stay positive,” Sutherby said. “I’m certainly not going to sulk and let it affect other parts of my game. I’ve had some chances and had some good opportunities, they just haven’t gone in. In the meantime, I take a lot of pride in getting a few shifts on the penalty kill, being physical and dropping the gloves when I have to.”
“At that point, I was hoping someone was going to slap me in the face and tell me it was a bad dream.” - Sutherby on the Turco save that denied him his first goal as a Duck
Those are the reasons the Ducks acquired Sutherby from Washington for a second-round draft pick last Nov. 13.
“We like his size and his ability to get around the rink,” says Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, who uses the 26-year-old at center and left wing. “We think he improves our skating game. He is a competitive person by nature. He will stand up and provide a physical presence both with the body and with fisticuffs if it’s necessary. You’ll never challenge Brian Sutherby for lack of work ethic or lack of commitment to the team game. That’s why he gets the minutes he does because we trust him.”
| “We like his size and his ability to get around the rink,” says Carlyle. “You’ll never challenge Brian Sutherby for lack of work ethic or lack of commitment to the team game. That’s why he gets the minutes he does because we trust him.” |
For the most part in his time with the team, Sutherby has been a fixture on the team’s fourth line (also known as an “energy” line). Veteran Brad May, who has played a good chunk of time with Sutherby on that line says that scoring is not the main objective for the group.
“We’d love to be a little more offensive, but we have a role to play,” May said. “The bottom line is we don’t want to be scored against. We want to gain energy for our team. That’s probably our most important part is playing good defense while providing energy and physicality.”
Contributing heavily in those areas for the Ducks, Sutherby will get his first taste of the playoffs in five years when the team begins postseason play next week. While with Washington for the first four years of his career, Sutherby only saw the playoffs once and it came during his rookie campaign in 2002-03. The Capitals would lose in six games of the first round to Tampa Bay.
“It’s very exciting,” Sutherby said. “There’s nothing like getting to play in the playoffs. Even the last 10 games or so has felt like playoff atmosphere in a lot of rinks. It’s certainly been a lot of fun to be a part of.”