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Call-Up a Chance for Sutter to Build on Strong Camp

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes

Even though Brett Sutter had a strong training camp, the numbers didn’t work in his favor. Five games into the Carolina Hurricanes’ regular season, however, he finds himself back with the team.

Michael Smith
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Zac Dalpe suffered a lower-body injury Friday night in Buffalo. He is out on a week-to-week basis. That left a fourth-line forward slot open, one the Canes could have filled with any one of five or so players in Charlotte. Sutter was the one to arrive in Raleigh.

 “He got called up based on what management saw in the games he played,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “It’s not enough to have a good camp here. You have to go back there with the right attitude.”

So that’s what Sutter did after training camp. He was then named captain of the Charlotte Checkers.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by your coaches and teammates,” he said. “I’m not a big vocal guy, so I just try to go out and lead by example in working hard everyday. If something needs to be said, I’ll say it. But there are a lot of leaders in that room, so I just try to be myself.”

Sutter doesn’t have the offensive numbers that other potential call-ups have. Jon Matsumoto is atop the AHL in points with 9 (3g, 6a). Drayson Bowman and Zach Boychuk both have 4 points. Sutter has yet to find the scoresheeet, but Hurricanes’ management wasn’t necessarily looking for that this time around.

“We need to play guys that will battle pucks out and battle pucks in, so he should be a good fit there,” Maurice said, in reference to Sutter playing on the fourth line.

“I like to play a physical game,” Sutter said. “I like to be a little greasy, create some energy and go to the net.”

This morning in practice, Sutter was already getting instruction from his new linemates. Anthony Stewart was diagramming at center ice at one point.

“[Brent and Stewart] are pretty vocal guys and pretty easy to talk to,” Sutter said. “So they’re telling me things they’ve been working on, spots to be and things to look for on the ice. I’m looking forward to playing with them.”

Sutter saw one game with the Hurricanes last season, a Saturday night tilt in Tampa Bay in which he played just over four minutes. Tomorrow, he’ll face a gritty Boston team that will no doubt be looking to top the Canes after losing here last Wednesday.

Boston is a team Sutter is not totally unfamiliar with, either. With Calgary in 2009-10, Sutter saw 12:42 of ice time at TD Banknorth Garden in a game that he said they “got smoked.” That’s about what happened – Boston beat the Flames 5-0.

Sutter also said he watched last week’s game on television, so he knows a bit of what to expect tomorrow night.

Though he will probably be returned to Charlotte once Dalpe heals, Sutter relishes in this call-up, a chance to build on the foundation laid with a strong camp.

“You work for these opportunities,” he said. “My dad told me the first time I got called up that if I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t ready. I still get nervous every time I get called up. That’s the way I like it.”

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