Chicago’s Sutter Retires
Center Brent Sutter, who won Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders in his first two full NHL seasons but could not win one in seven years with the Chicago Blackhawks, retired Monday.
Sutter made the announcement while he and his teammates cleaned out their lockers at Chicago’s United Center. The Blackhawks failed to qualify for the playoffs, ending the longest active postseason streak in North American professional sports at 28 years.
“I’m done playing, I’m just disappointed that over the seven years I’ve been here I didn’t help this team win a Stanley Cup,” he said. “That was the goal when I was traded here and it will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Ron Sutter of the San Jose Sharks is the last remaining member of the famous hockey family still active in the NHL.
The Sutters sent six sons to the NHL--Brian, Darryl, Duane, Brent, Ron and Rich. Brian and Darryl are head coaches with the Calgary Flames and Sharks, respectively, and Duane is an assistant with the Florida Panthers. But Brent Sutter said he is not sure what his future holds.
“There’s things that intrigue me in the game, whether it’s at the coaching end of it or the management end of it,” he said.
“You can’t predict what’s going to happen a year from now or two years from now. All I can say is I’m done playing and I wish this team nothing but success in the future. There’s something special about it that means an awful lot to me. Not just the Blackhawks, but the city of Chicago.”
The 35-year-old Sutter broke in with the Islanders in 1980 but played in only three games. He was a key member of the last two of New York’s four consecutive Stanley Cup championship teams and enjoyed his best season in 1984-85, when he had 42 goals and 60 assists.
With Chicago, Sutter occupied a largely checking role and spent the last two seasons centering a line that included wingers Jim Cummins and Bob Probert. In 52 games this season, Sutter had only two goals and six assists.
Philadelphia Flyer Coach Roger Neilson said he will start goalie Sean Burke, who hasn’t been in the NHL playoffs since 1990, over Ron Hextall in the best-of-seven series against the Buffalo Sabres that starts Wednesday.
“Sean’s got the ball right now, and it’s up to him to do what he can with it,” Neilson said.
Burke was obtained March 4 from the Vancouver Canucks for goalie Garth Snow. Snow and Hextall alternated in net in the playoffs last year, and the rotation was a distraction for the goalies and the team.
Hextall is 0-6 since his last win on March 16, while Burke is 7-3 in his last 10 starts, although the Flyers have scored nearly 1 1/2 goals more per game when Burke has played.
“We just felt Sean was a little better--not a lot better--down the stretch,” Neilson said.
The Detroit Red Wings will be a little battered and bruised as they begin defense of their Stanley Cup championship.
The Red Wings, who open the first round Wednesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes, have four players who won’t play in the opening game and three others who are questionable. The bulk of the injuries happened on Detroit’s three-game road swing to close the regular season.
Doug Brown, who scored a career-high 19th goal Saturday, separated a shoulder later in a 4-3 loss at Colorado. He could be finished for the season.
Kris Draper has a sprained left knee, but could be back by the end of the first round. Brent Gilchrist appears to be out for all of the first round because of a groin strain.
Brendan Shanahan has an inflamed back and bulging disk and will miss at least the first game. Igor Larionov and Steve Yzerman both have groin injuries, but will probably play Wednesday.
Vyacheslav Kozlov has been experiencing headaches, but he too is likely to play.
The Pittsburgh Penguins got a scare when forward Martin Straka collided with defenseman Brad Werenka and suffered an upper back injury in pre-practice warmups.
Straka was in obvious pain as he skated off the ice, but said he felt much better after getting some treatment.
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