Q. The others simply followed Brian?
A. The brothers are close in age, all seven (there are no girls) born within 10 years on a 640-acre farm near Viking. Brian set a no-nonsense standard. These are not exactly the Marx Brothers, these guys, giving each other hotfoots or honking horns and spraying seltzer water. They don't smile a lot. They work hockey as if they were working on the farm. Brian showed that work could bring results. Darryl remembers thinking for the first time that he possibly could play in the NHL when Brian made the NHL.
Q. They all play the same?
A. Ron Caron, the general manager of the Blues, was asked if he would like a team filled with Sutters, all Sutters, say 20 of them. "Well," he said, "you'd probably want some speed somewhere...and some puck handling...." The basic Sutter game has been to bump and disrupt, to knock people from the other team away from the puck and give it to people on the Sutter team. None of the Sutters have been stylists. They are hockey workers.
Q. How did they act, all involved in this one game? They must have been excited.
A. Not really. They feel as if they have been playing on the same team or against each other forever. There might have been a jolt of excitement back in 1984 when the youngest brothers, the twins, Rich and Ron, played for the Philadelphia Flyers and Brent and Duane both played for the Islanders (Most Sutters On Ice, One Game: Four), but that was a long time ago. Ron said one of the bad parts of a hockey job is that you lose the hockey fun, that there can be no joking around, that "hockey is a business and you have to play each game as if you might never play another one." Fun is in the summer. They all have houses around Viking, and they work at the same hockey camp. Summer is family time. The rest of the year is hockey time.
Q. They didn't talk to each other on the ice? Stuff like that?
A. Hardly. Ron and Brent were the ones who wound up playing against each other the most on Sunday. They both are centers, so they also have played against each other the most in the past. They played the way most brothers play sports against each other in the backyard. They gladly would have taken each other's head off. There was one play in front of the Chicago goal when they had their sticks raised and looked like they were going to start whacking at each other. Ron said later, "We've done a lot worse things than that to each other." He also said, however, that he has patterned everything he does on the ice after Brent. Brent was his model, a fact he has never actually mentioned to Brent.
Q. How about the coaching? Isn't it hard to have your brother as your player? Or as your coach?
A. Brian says that, if anything, he is harder on his two brothers than on the rest of the Blues. Darryl says that when the trade was made for Brent, the idea was to obtain a top-flight center to play on a second line behind Jeremy Roenick, not to obtain a brother. He says a business relationship is not hard to maintain, especially the way his brother plays. Ron also was traded this year, coming from the Flyers to rejoin his twin and to play for Brian. He says the trade was a shock. Brian had never said anything to him about the possibility. He says he wasn't worried about playing for Brian, because he had talked with Rich, who had spent two years playing for Brian. It all can be confusing, huh?