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Sutter: 'It’s definitely a whole new bag of worms' - 06-25-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Center Brandon Sutter spoke publicly this afternoon for the first time since he was acquired by the Penguins as part of the trade which sent Jordan Staal to the Hurricanes Friday.

Like Staal, he seeks a chance to contribute more on offense. But at the same time he realized his value as a defensive player.

What was your reaction to the trade?

"It’s kind of a whole new feeling for me. I didn’t really see it coming at all. It was a bit of a shock to the system, especially the last couple of days. But I think now I’m a little bit relaxed and I’m getting kind of excited about it."

What is like going to a team which Stanley Cup aspirations after playing for a team which struggled to reach the postseason?

"For me, I’m four years into my career now and I’ve yet to play in a playoff game. For me, I’m at a point now where it’s about winning. That’s what I want to be there for and I want to help with that. Obviously with the two big guys down the middle (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin), playing behind them is going to be a great opportunity for me. You never know with injuries, the way things are going to get shaken up through the season. Like I said before, I just want to win some games and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to play with some great players."

Is it ironic you're going to the team you scored your first career goal against in 2008?

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"It’s kind of crazy I’m going to the team I scored it on. It’s kind of neat how that worked out. I remember I was just kind of forechecking on (Brooks Orpik). The puck kind of fell of his stick. I just remember grabbing it. It was kind of my first scoring chance in the league. I just kind of put it in the net. It was an exciting feeling for sure."

How did you like your role in Carolina?

"At the end of (last season), we were more discussing things about next year and how we were going to get better. This was one of the first years where the team there now has the opportunity to go after free agents and stuff like that. I was telling them personally I like my role there and what I do. At the same time, we were upset with missing the playoffs again. The one thing I did kind of mention to them, I felt there was times where they were always expecting me to be good defensively which was fine. In terms of offense, they never gave me much. There wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity. I think that comes with playing with different guys and maybe different chemistry. I think for myself, I don’t want be just looked as just a defensive player. I want to score goals and do things too. I think in the past, I’ve had opportunity to play a little bit on the power play here and there and it’s helped. I’m obviously very comfortable on the penalty kill and checking and stuff like that. I think if you can combine the two, you can turn yourself into a good player."

What do you know about the Penguins?

"I know from playing against them, they’re a obviously very talented group and always a tough team to play against. That’s what exciting for me. In terms of guys I know, I’m not really familiar with any of them. I met a couple of them through the years. It’s definitely a whole new bag of worms for me. But, I think one thing you find out in this business, is no matter where you go, there’s always a lot of good guys. That’s probably the hardest part in all of it but it’s also not something you need to worry about because you expect to be good people everywhere you go. And from what I understand, they’ve got a great locker room there."

How did you find out about the trade?

"I was just carrying on with my everyday day I guess. I was at my friend’s place. I got a call and it was (Hurricanes executive and former Penguins captain) Ron Francis and he kind of said, ‘I wish I was calling with better news but here’s what’s going on.’ He thanked me for everything. It kind of catches you by surprise. Your heart kind of stops and you take a deep breath. It’s definitely a feeling I’m not used too. It was a tough couple of days. Now, I’m kind of relaxed a bit. Talking to (Dan Bylsma) and (Ray Shero) and Sidney too. It’s starting to get pretty exciting but its always hard where you’re comfortable and there’s a lot of great people."

Is there any extra pressure in having to replace a player like Jordan Staal?

"I’m coming in to do what I’ve done. I’m my own player. I don’t feel like I’m here to replace anyone. Jordan’s obviously a great player. A player you want to be like. Hopefully one day I can try and find that level he was at as far as offensive numbers. I think I can. But I don’t want to feel like I’m replacing someone. Obviously the Penguins had to make a deal and I’m glad they picked me. I’m going to a winning team there where there’s opportunity. They chose me because the wanted me."

How much of an asset is it having multiple members of your family in the NHL?

"There’s obviously a lot of us. I’ve had uncles who have played in a lot of cities and coached for a lot of teams. What my uncles and dad were able to do was pretty special. I’m just kind of happy to be a part of that. I know my Uncle Richie played in Pittsburgh. He was down there for the draft and he said that I’m going to like where I’m going. And it should be a fun place to play. If I ever need any advice on anything, I’ve definitely got a few people to call."

You had three shorthanded goals last season. The Penguins had 11 as a team which was one of the better totals in the NHL. Do you suspect their penalty kill structure will suit your skills?

"Yeah for sure. I think when you get out there on the penalty kill, obviously first and foremost, kill the penalty. But, whenever you have a chance to go (for a shorthanded goal), you got to go for it if you have a chance to get two-on-ones or breakaways or whatever. They’re definitely an aggressive team. They’re quick up front which I think is one of my strengths. I’m looking forward to getting into that. It’s a whole new feel but the game’s still played the same way kind of no matter where you are."

Are you glad you dont' have to play against Crosby or Malkin now?

"I enjoy playing against the other team’s better players and trying to outplay them. That’s a challenge. I can remember coming to Pittsburgh and having to play against Crosby and Malkin which wasn’t always a ton of fun. I’m looking forward to being on the other side of that now."

 (Photos: Sutter-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Staal-Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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