The father-and-son chat lasted just five minutes, not allowing for much time to talk about hockey, to talk about the game.
Brett Sutter left the Canes’ dressing room just after Friday’s game. He went down a hallway at PNC Arena to find his father, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
The two never had been on opposite sides for a game, making for a memorable if slightly awkward experience. It was the same a few years ago, when Brett’s cousin, Brandon, played for the Canes and went up against the New Jersey Devils, then coached by his father, Brent.
“Once I was out there it was fine,” Brett Sutter said. “It was kind of just another game. I just tried to put it behind me.
“Going into the game it was pretty cool. It was obviously kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.”
Sutter said he and his dad never made eye contact during the game, which the Kings won 2-1 in a shootout.
“I tried to avoid that as much as I could,” he said. “But at the second intermission I did watch him walk across the ice to their room. It was too weird seeing him crossing like that. It was pretty strange. But it was cool.”
After the game, Brett said his father told him “it was tough and he couldn’t obviously watch me, so he couldn’t give me any feedback on the game. He just said, ‘Keep going, keep working hard and make it a hard decision for these guys to keep you here.’”
That’s been Brett Sutter’s objective from the start of camp: win a roster spot and work hard enough and well enough to keep it. Sutter, the captain of the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) last season, has played in all five games, and nearly all of his minutes have been on the fourth line. He did get a shift or two with Jeff Skinner and Radek Dvorak on Friday after third-line center Elias Lindholm was injured and Skinner moved to center.
Sutter was in for 15 shifts, getting a season-high 8:47 of ice time.
“For me, training camp isn’t over yet. I have to come every day and earn my spot, earn my keep,” Sutter said. “That’s fine with me. I’m a competitor.”