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Suter happy for time at home after heavy minutes

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With Chicago's United Center booked for an NBA playoff game Thursday, a quirk which pushed Game 2 of this Stanley Cup Playoff series back 24 hours, the Minnesota Wild chose to fly home following the game, allowing its players to enjoy the comforts of home despite opening on the road.

"The last two weeks have felt like playoff hockey," coach Mike Yeo said. "So to have a chance to come home and reset, regardless of whatever the outcome of that game was, we thought it would be important for our guys to be able to reset and focus to be ready for the next one."

Many of the players who came to the building Wednesday brought their children, including defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Matt Cullen.

During Suter's eight-minute media session, rookies Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle even played the part of babysitter for Suter's son, Brooks.

Suter said he's glad the coaching staff decided to come home, allowing players, especially the veterans, to spend some additional time with their families.

The morning after skating more than 41 minutes against the Blackhawks, Suter said he was playing hockey again -- this time playing "mini-sticks" with Brooks.

"I was the goalie," Suter said.

The short flight from Minneapolis to Chicago is one of the smaller benefits of playing the Blackhawks as opposed to the Anaheim Ducks or Vancouver Canucks, locales which would have made these two days at home impossible.

"It's nice to be home on a day off, especially with the season. We haven't been home much this year," Suter said. "The routine of flying the day before, have a good meal, then get up and do the morning skate there, I think that's the routine we wanted."

Suter's 41:08 of ice time established a franchise record, smashing the previous mark by almost five minutes.

Playing big minutes is nothing to Suter. He led all NHL players in time on the ice this season and has seen his share of minutes while skating in playoff games with the Nashville Predators.

Suter said he felt fine Wednesday, and Yeo even said he thought Suter would have liked to have played even more.

"Body feels fine, just getting ready for the next one," Suter said. "It feels good to come in, hang out and just go over a few things."

Suter's defensive partner, rookie Jonas Brodin, also played high minutes Tuesday night, skating for a total of 34:20 -- the most of his career.

Suter said he spoke to Brodin in the days leading up to the playoffs about keeping his body right in order to handle an increased load.

"I told him before the playoffs, 'Eat good, drink a lot of water,'" Suter said. "After the game last night, he's a pretty shy guy, so he'll wait to get his food until after the older guys. A lot of the young guys do. But I just told him, 'Get in there, nobody cares anymore, it's all about being ready to play.' He's doing good, he's got a great attitude."

Maybe the most impressive thing about Brodin's playoff debut was his even-rating despite being matched up against the Blackhawks' top line for much of the night.

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