Brandon Sutter was called up to Carolina Saturday after the Canes' Tuomo Ruutu was suspended for three games by the NHL for a hit on Darcy Tucker of the Colorado Avalanche. Sutter centered the Hurricanes' third line and played a regular shift in his first NHL appearance of the season on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild. Sutter will likely play for the Canes again on Wednesday and next Saturday.
Sutter may never be coming back, even after Ruutu returns. The Hurricanes placed fourth-line center Stephane Yelle on waivers. Yelle's ice-time has been limited and now he could be on the way out the door. That would open up a permanent space for Sutter on the NHL roster.
Steven Goertzen suffered a concussion Friday night against Rochester. He did not play Saturday or Sunday. His status for next weekend is questionable. He was playing fantastic up until the injury.
The Rats called up Jacob MicFlickier from the ECHL's Florida Everblades on Saturday. MicFlikier, who was signed by the Rats during the offseason, is currently the Blades' top scorer with two goals and three assists after four games. He attended the Rats' training camp and skated well during the preseason. He did not arrive at the Times Union Center in time for warm-ups on Saturday, but was on the bench when the puck dropped. MicFlickier scored a goal against the Phantoms 13:49 into the first period. Watch it here.
The Rats collected only two of six possible points over the weekend. It was undoubtedly a tiring and mostly disappointing three-day stretch. But all things considered, the Rats played solid. Not perfect, but solid. When the chips were down, they never gave up. They pushed Friday night's game to the last seconds, and despite being down 4-1 on Sunday they showed true spirit and poured on the pressure late in the game. The team is showing character and several players are stepping up in the wake of injuries and call-ups.
Justin Peters continues to play phenomenal hockey. His ability to stay focused under pressure is most impressive. His puck-handling skills are also much improved. After six games, Peters has registered four wins, a GAA of 2.33 and a SV% of .923. He has been named a star-of-the-game in three of his six contests.
Captain Pat Dwyer is playing as passionate as ever. You can tell he takes the role of captain very seriously. He is always coming through when it counts. His hunger for the puck gets the whole team going. He is possibly the Rats' most valuable player.
There is little doubt Zach Boychuk will be a future NHL star. He is the pure definition of raw talent. He is always moving his legs, creating opportunities and drawing penalties. His game-winner against Adirondack was an absolute beauty. He's a natural.
After six home games, Zack FitzGerald is already a fan favorite. His physical style of play is a valued commodity for the Rats' young and undersized club. The opposition fears his presence. He was punishing the Phantoms all night on Saturday. If anyone is fired up for the rivalry, it's him.
There is no telling where the Rats would be without the services of Jonathan Paiement. His willingness to block shots has been invaluable.
Attendance at the Times Union Center has been less than spectacular. In six games, the Rats have averaged 3,332 people a contest. Only four AHL teams are drawing smaller crowds. Adirondack is in the middle of the pack with an average attendance of 4,238. Time to step it up Albany!
The East Division is extremely tight. Less than four points separate the first and last place teams. Albany and Hershey are tied with 10 points. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Adirondack have nine a piece (the Penguins have two games in hand, the Phantoms have one). Binghamton and Syracuse have eight points each. Norfolk has six with a game in hand.