NEW YORK – "He’s a big man, and he’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time." — Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters.
Although Brody Sutter saw just 5:50 worth of ice time in the Hurricanes 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, his head coach had no hesitation in praising the 6-foot-5, 203 pound center following his long-awaited NHL debut.
"He was fine, he was good," Peters said. "It would have been nice to get him some more ice time…is he ready to be a full-time NHL guy right now? I’m not sure of that. I didn’t think he had any issues whatsoever."
The latest in a long line with the Sutter name, the 23-year-old became the ninth member of the storied hockey family to reach the game’s highest level. After the first generation of Brent, Darryl, Duane, Brent, Ron and Rich, Carolina’s seventh-round pick in 2011 became the third of the family’s second generation to play in the NHL; Brett debuted for the Calgary Flames in 2008, while Brandon is a top forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"It would have been nice to get the win, but it’s exciting to play in your first game," Sutter said. "I’m happy with how it went. (There was some) nervous excitement, I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life. You’re ready to go, but at the same time, you’re shaking a little bit. It’s all kind of a blur right now, but I thought our line had some good chances in the first and the second, and it would have been nice to get one. The whole experience will be the best memory."
With Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner having both missed the game due to injury, there was an opportunity for Sutter, Duane’s son, to make an impact.
"Obviously, you never want to get your opportunity through injury, but that’s the way the game works right now," said Sutter, who played in 38 games for the ECHL’s Florida Everblades in 2012-13.
"For whatever reason, the hockey gods aren’t happy with us. I’ll just play to the best of my abilities and hopefully make a good enough impression where Coach Peters trusts me enough to keep me up here and keep me in the lineup for a little while."