Countdown to Sutherby

By Seth Keggins

And so, the countdown for Brian Sutherby continues. After promising words from both Owner Ted Leonsis and G.M. George McPhee, touted Caps prospect Brian Sutherby could arrive back in Washington as early as next week. Sutherby is currently taking part in the WHL playoffs in which his squad, the Moose Jaw Warriors, is fencing with a Regina team which owns a better regular season record (and owns the season series between the two squads at 6-4-1). Caps team hierarchy report that Sutherby is expected to arrive in Washington, D.C. as early as this weekend, however Brian and his team are more focused towards advancing into the second round of the playoffs.

Brian Sutherby has been out since a crunching check from Nashville Predators prospect Jordin Tootoo (16-seconds into a match against the Brandon Wheat Kings on March 9th). Sutherby suffered a concussion and had been sidelined for the remainder of the regular season. Upon his return at the onset of the playoff series, Brian came on strong having not lost a step in his absence. Regina began attacking strong in the first period on the March 22nd game. They peppered Moose Jaw starting goaltender Kyle Kettles with 13 shots but came away tied 0-0 after one period. Moose Jaw regained its composure for period two, only to have the score tied 1-1. However, early in the 3rd period, Brian Sutherby scored his first goal since his hat-trick performance on March the 6th. Regina controlled the shots through the remainder of the game, but Moose Jaw only needed two final shots on goal in overtime to be victorious, and take a 1-0 lead in the series.

In game 2, Sutherby took on a bit of a mean streak as he accumulated roughing and double-roughing minors during two separate incidences within just the first period of play. The score was tied 1-1, after the period but in the second, Brian scored a power-play goal, his second goal in as many games, getting assists from Shawn Limpright, and fellow Caps prospect Nathan Paetsch. However Regina would come away with a 5-3 win, tying the playoff series at one a piece. Regina won its second game in a row over Moose Jaw with a sneaky 2-1 victory last night. The Warriors controlled the play all around as they dominated in shots, however could not convert on the power play (going 0-7), and that would be the difference. Sutherby was also kept off the scoring sheet, even though the team took a total of 41 shots at Regina goaltender Josh Harding.

Brian Sutherby would be a welcome addition to the Capitals, however he may or may not be rushed to Washington depending on how the Caps shape up for the current playoff race. The Capitals having won last night over the Buffalo Sabres 4-3, and with Montreal losing to Florida, moves Washington into a tie for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Some may argue that Sutherby is needed (as the Caps are drastically short of natural centers), however Ron Wilson may not give Brian the ice-time if the team is still on the border-line of making or missing the playoffs. Brian could get to see fourth line duties as early as Wednesday April 3rd, against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then again, Sutherby may not be rushed and instead sent to AHL affiliate, Portland…only time will tell.

Moose Jaw’s Next Game: Game #4 TONIGHT, 8:30 ET @ Moose Jaw (Regina up 2-1).
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