Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

When you're a Sutter, certain things are expected

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They are one of hockey's most recognizable brands, as iconic as the bleu, blanc et rouge of the Montreal Canadiens or the Detroit Red Wings' winged wheel.

Yes, the hockey world has long come to understand this: a player with the letters S-U-T-T-E-R stitched onto the back of his jersey will be a treat to play with and a beast to play against.

Every day, every practice, every shift.

"It's all we know," said Lukas Sutter, the Winnipeg Jets' second-round draft pick this year (39th overall), after the first session of the team's development camp. "If you're going to be out there, you may as well lay it all out there."

We're not sure what the official motto of the Sutter clan is, but that sure as heck fits. After all, six brothers from the homestead in Viking, Alta., made it to the NHL -- Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich and Ron -- while the second generation now has seen five more Sutters drafted, with Brandon now with Pittsburgh and Brett in the Carolina system.

And with that famous last name comes great responsibility and expectations.

"It's a legacy in the game of hockey. It's something I want to live up to and be a part of," said Sutter. "That's one thing my dad and uncles have preached to me... my mom and sisters also have that in them. That something that comes with the territory with the last name. It's also the morals and values you were raised up on.

"There hasn't been a second option for me. There hasn't been a second desire. It's always been about being the best player I can be and the best person I can be."

That was never more evident than in Sutter's 2011-12 campaign with the Saskatoon Blades. Sutter worked his way up from being a third/fourth-line player with the Blades to a spot on the team's Top 6 by season's end, finishing third in scoring and first in penalty minutes and being named the squad's best defensive forward.

It's that combination of skill and grit which saw him go from No. 86 to No. 39 on Central Scouting's draft ranking and why the Jets were so eager to add him to their organization.

"It's something we all take a lot of pride in. That's the way we have to play to be successful," Sutter said. "I'm not the most talented guy in the world and I'm not the best skater. But when I get on the ice I'm going to be the hardest-working guy and that's something I have to do night in and night out to be successful.

"It's been the same since I was 14 years old. It doesn't really matter where you are or who you are around, you have to hold yourself to those standards.

"It's always been my passion and my desire to play this game."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

jimmy roy runs camp C2

The clan Sutter

 

A look at the lineage of Jets draft pick Lukas Sutter:

Rich Sutter (Lukas' father): played in 874 NHL games from 1982-95 with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Vancouver, St. Louis, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Toronto. Now a scout with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Ron Sutter (uncle): played for seven different teams in his NHL career: Philadelphia, St. Louis, Quebec, New York Islanders, Boston, San Jose, Calgary. Now a Flames' scout.

Duane Sutter (uncle): a pro scout with the Edmonton Oilers, Duane played in 731 NHL games with the Islanders and Blackhawks and coached the Florida Panthers for parts of two seasons.

Brent Sutter (uncle): played in 1,111 NHL games with the Islanders, and Blackhawks. Highly successful as a coach at the junior level (two World Junior titles and a Memorial Cup) who just recently stepped down as head coach of the Flames. Holds a 215-146-49 record as an NHL coach in Calgary and New Jersey.

Brian Sutter (uncle): was the first to turn pro and suited up for 779 NHL games, all with St. Louis, and had his number retired by the Blues. Longtime NHL coach currently coaches the Bentley Generals, who won the 2009 Allan Cup.

Darryl Sutter (uncle): head coach of the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Played in 406 NHL games, all with Chicago and coached the Blackhawks, San Jose and Calgary before taking over the Kings last season.

Brandon Sutter (cousin): now with the Pittsburgh Penguins

Shaun Sutter (cousin): was drafted by Calgary, but never made it to the NHL, and is now with the Red Deer Rebels as a senior scout.

Brett Sutter (cousin): played 15 games with Carolina last year and 63 in the AHL with Charlotte.

Brody Sutter (cousin): is a Hurricanes' draft pick who joined Charlotte last year after finishing his junior career with Lethbridge.

Merrick Sutter (cousin): wasn't drafted but is involved in hockey as the Senior VP of the Red Deer Rebels.

 

-- Ed Tait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2012 C1

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