For the second time this season, the AHL has handed Checkers captain Brett Sutter a one-game suspension.
Sutter, who previously missed one game for boarding during the team’s win over Norfolk at Raleigh’s PNC Arena in January, will sit out this Friday’s road game against the Admirals due to an illegal check to the head. The incident occurred during the team’s 5-1 win in Abbotsford on Friday.
As was the case with the play that resulted in Sutter’s previous suspension, the hit occurred very early in the game, this time just 54 seconds in. Sutter received a penalty for the play but stayed in the game to record his second four-point night in three games (1g, 3a), tying his career high.
The suspension is the third earned by the Checkers this season, with Chris Terry receiving a three-game ban for elbowing back in October.
With Zac Dalpe and Riley Nash currently in the NHL, Sutter, 25, ranks second among active Checkers in scoring with 33 points (13g, 20a) in 52 games. With a maximum of 21 games left to play, he has already surpassed his career highs in points and assists while tying his career high in goals – all of which were set last season.
If the Checkers take their current roster to Norfolk, their next-highest scorers behind leader Chris Terry (42 points), would be defenseman Michal Jordan and forward Justin Shugg with 15 apiece. The team would not need to make a recall to replace Sutter, as they currently have 13 forwards on their roster. David Rutherford has sat out each of the previous two games as a healthy scratch.
The single-game trip to Norfolk concludes a six-game road swing for the Checkers. Sutter will be eligible to return when the team begins a stretch of playing 14 of 17 games at home starting Sunday.