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01-20-2012, 01:01 AM
Student Of The Game
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Rich Sutter, W

No doubt Rich was the 6th-most talented of the Sutter brothers. But that doesn't mean we should ignore him forever. Sutter was a great role player who scored 315 points in 874 NHL games - and 279 of them were at even strength, 6th-most among all available players.

Rich was the 3rd-most combative of the Sutters, with Brian being a runaway #1, Duane 2nd, Ron and Brent in 4th/5th and Darryl a distant 6th. Rich had 114 recorded career fights with a known record of 23-15-8. He had agitating qualities and was a serviceable penalty killer: 22% for teams 10% better than average. Rich averaged 12.95 minutes a game over a nice long career and topped 11 goals and 25 points nine times each, topping out at 20 goals and 42 points, with no PP time.

Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1986-87
Sutter is an average skater in terms of maneuverability and balance, but he does have a good snap to his stride and can accelerate well. He is not a very good puckhandler, nor is he an exceptional stickhandler or passer. Sutter does have a good sense of the game and its flow and can read plays pretty well. That vision and anticipation makes him a good checking and defensive forward but he has been unable to translate those skills into goal scoring capabilities. Sutter will score his goals from around the net in scrambles or whatever other mischief he can create.

The physical game is what Sutter is all about. Sutter is what is euphemistically called a "chippy" hockey player. This means he starts at questionable and moves quickly into dirty. He hits whatever he can find, usually the opposition's meeker players, and gets his stick into anyone bigger than he is. Sutter won't fight even though he causes all sorts of calamaties, and that frustrates the opposition too. (editor's note, funny that they say that since he had 23 fights that season, 3rd on the team behind Tocchet and Brown)

Rich, the other half of the Sutter twins, is even more pugnacious than his brother Ron. He is a disturber of a world class order, hitting after the whistle ad doing whatever else he can to distract the opposition and get them off their game. He and his brother are known to NHLers as Spear and Slash. His PIM total is huge, but Rich, like his brother Duane, does things that get his team stirred up. He is a very excitable player and he does get on the nerves of his teammates because of it.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1987-88
Rich is not a big guy, so he definitely deserves credit for his willingness to be physical, and it should also be noted that he is moderating his running around in search of victims. That makes him a more effective player... though he missed his brother Ron, Rich's excellent work habits eventually got him into the swing of things. He's an honest hockey player.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1991-92
Sutter can make plays, but simple plays... he has only average thought processes in terms of seeing the ice; he likes to keep it deep in the attack zone and keep it simple. Sutter does not create opportunities off the rush, he makes them off the forecheck. He gets himself in position to score, but isn't a great finisher. Sutter is not an agile skater, but he's strong. He has the ability to forecheck because of his persistence. And at the other end, what he lacks in quickness in the defensive zone, he makes up for with smarts.

A confrontational player, Sutter finishes every check emphatically. He goes to the net hard. He drives the puck deep, then fights through checks to get it back. Rich works every shift, every game, which you would expect from any Sutter. He is not gifted with great skills; in fact, he may be the least-skilled of the brothers. But he understands his limitations and makes up for those shortcomings with the family's characteristic relentlessness and desire. And from all outward appearances, anyway, he did a god job of handling the fact that his big brother coaches the team. it did not seem to become an issue in the dressing room. Sutter is good in the room. He plays hurt and, given the style he plays, that is often.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1992-93
Sutter shines defensively, because he reads plays well and is a relentless forechecker who will hound a puck carrier to distraction... Rich plays bigger than his size. He is annoying, pesky and always in your face. He takes the body on every shift... despite his lack of touch, he will provide anything else his team needs in the way of effort in whatever department his talent allows him to contribute.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1993-94
Like any Sutter, Rich will do all the things that remind you of the family reputation. He';s an excellent checker, a relentless skater and a tireless worker. He knows the game inside and out. An old-fashioned player in a modern game, Sutter yaps at opponents and hacks their arms and legs, trying to intimidate with trash. He is clearly at the bottom of the family totem pole in terms of talent. He has the gene for dedication, hard work, chippiness and belligerence... despite his limited offensive talent, he is a character player - the kind any coach would love to have on the team.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993-94
Sutter endures on his grit and work ethic. He is alert to game situations, and will be on the ice at crunch time when the team needs a lead protected... he takes "smart" penalties and creates PP chances for his team by keeping his legs moving as he works to get in scoring position. You never have to worry about Sutter being ready to play. His intensity is a constant.

Sutter plays with the arrogance of a player at least 4 inches taller and 25 pounds heavier. He is annoying to play against, always in your face and yapping. He'll take whatever piece of a player he can to distract them. If knocked down (which he often is by bigger players) he'll bounce right back up and get into the play.

We thought Rich would drop right off the blues depth chart after coach Broan left. Instead, he played even better, becoming a reliable checking winger who brings a spark to his shifts. Our lesson is learned - we'll never underestimate a Sutter again.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1994-95
He can be a catalyst to lift his team's bench or help calm things down when the action gets heated on the ice. His offensive contributions will be meagre, but he ranks high in character and leadership.

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