Wild's Suter changes on the fly

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2013 - 6:20 AM

Ryan Suter is just getting used to his new team, but tonight, he'll face a blast from his very recent past.

The Wild schedule was released 10 days ago, and Ryan Suter immediately looked to see when he would play the Nashville Predators.

"I was like, 'Oh, man. Right away,' " said the new Wild defenseman, uneasiness written on his face. "There will be a lot of emotions for that game. I'm still close with a lot of guys on Nashville."

Before this season, Suter had known one coach -- Barry Trotz -- and one general manager -- David Poile -- his entire NHL career. Whenever he looked to his right, there was the comfort of seeing defensive partner Shea Weber.

But now, for the first time since signing a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Wild, Suter will be going up against the franchise that drafted him seventh overall in 2003. He still catches himself referring to "them" as "we."

"I'm looking forward to beating them, hopefully," Suter said.

All-Stars Suter and Weber, who stayed in Nashville after the Predators were forced to match a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet from Philadelphia last summer, are trying to adjust to life without each other.

Weber scored 19 goals and had 49 points last season. His new partner is 22-year-old Roman Josi.

Suter had a career-high 46 points and logged 26 1/2 minutes a game last season, third-highest in the NHL. His new partner is 23-year-old Jared Spurgeon.

Weber is 27, an intimidating specimen at 6-4 and 232 pounds. He has played in three All-Star Games and an Olympic Games, is a two-time first-team All-Star and is a former Norris Trophy finalist.

Spurgeon is 5-9 and 185 pounds soaking wet and is friendly and approachable. He is a free-agent pickup on an entry-level deal after the Islanders didn't sign the sixth-round draft pick. Spurgeon is respected by Wild management and coach Mike Yeo.

But he is no Shea Weber.

"My buddies tell me I have big shoes to fill," Spurgeon said, smiling. "At the start, when Mike called me last summer to say I'd be playing with Ryan, I was feeling pressure. But once he came here and getting to talk to him, you can tell how down to Earth he is."

Yeo jokingly called Spurgeon "the boy genius" last week because it was the teenage-looking Spurgeon, who has been in the NHL 1 1/2 years, helping teach Suter the system when coaches weren't allowed on the ice leading into training camp.

"I've done the same thing for the last eight years. The system, the practices, the drills, they're all new, so Spurg has been helping me big-time," Suter said. "I noticed him last year when we would come and play Minnesota.

"He's a good player. I didn't know that he was this good. He's smooth, good with the puck. Guys would always give him his rap, 'Oh he's small,' but he's got a great stick and he's a great skater and so smart, and that makes up for everything. For me playing with Spurg, he's going to help me a lot. I think I can help him a lot."

Change in scenery

Suter left Nashville for a number of reasons that actually had less to do with the $98 million and more to do with the 13-year term he could have gotten from a number of teams, including Detroit and Nashville.

When you're committing essentially the rest of your career and a good chunk of your life to a market, numerous factors come into play beyond money.

Behind the scenes, Zach Parise and Suter decided they wanted to play together.

"It was a big thing for Zach and me that we decided to do this together," Suter said. "I think he's one of the most underrated players in the league. I always get into battles debating people. They say, 'Who do you think is the best?' I'd always say him, and I'd be given the hardest time for it.

"But just watch him play."

Like the Minneapolis-born Parise, a preferred lifestyle was an influence in Suter's choice. To spend potentially 13 years in one spot, Suter had to decide where he wanted to settle down and raise his family.

Minnesota was perfect because Suter hails from Madison, Wis., a short drive to the Twin Cities for his family. And his wife, Becky, is from Bloomington.

Next, he says, "were the guys they have coming up. I mean, we know about Mikko [Koivu] and a lot of their already good players, but we've heard about [Mikael] Granlund and that [Jason] Zucker and [Charlie] Coyle and the defenseman, [Jonas] Brodin. We know we can win here for a long time.

"The hockey market here played a huge part of it, too. And, I know [owner] Craig [Leipold] wants to win."

Some hard feelings

Suter's first call, after choosing the Wild, was to Weber.

"I was in communication throughout whole thing with Shea," Suter said. "He's a great player, good guy, and a really close friend of mine. We still text all the tme."

Poile was next, and he didn't take Suter's departure well. Poile voiced frustration to reporters, saying he was "not only disappointed but very surprised. Over the last year I've had literally, 20, 30, 40 conversations with Ryan and his representative, mostly with Ryan about our desire to sign him to a long-term deal and the importance to the Predators hockey club. This could have gone down as the best defensive pair ever in NHL history [with Weber]. They were certainly heading that way."

Suter was stung.

"I have a lot of respect for David," Suter said. "He's done a lot of things for me, gave me my chance, he's helped me along the way with a lot of things. He's a great person. I thought he would have handled it differently. But emotions run high. He had a lot riding on me.

"Looking back now, hopefully, I don't know if he'll ever accept my decision, but hopefully he understands why I made it."

Poile told the Tennessean newspaper on Monday: "It's time to move on. I have nothing bad to say about Ryan. He was a terrific player for us. When I get to see him, I'll shake his hand. ... If I was emotional, I don't make any apologies for that. It was disappointing the way it turned out for us."

Now Suter is trying to adjust to life in Minnesota after a chaotic few weeks. He has family everywhere, "although we've done a good job of saying, 'Hey, when we want you to come by, we'll invite ya,' " he said.

On the ice, Suter also is adjusting. He wasn't happy with his play in Saturday's opener and is trying to chisel Nashville's system, which became as natural as walking, out of his brain.

"There's only a few differences in systems, but if I screw them up, then they're huge things," he said, laughing. "They're minor things and they should be easy for me, and now that I'm feeling good, hopefully they will be."

  • related content

  • Video: Strong start to Wild season

    Monday January 21, 2013

    The Wild are off to a 2-0 start after home victories over the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars this...

  • Scoggins: Many fans find call of the Wild too hard to resist

    Tuesday January 22, 2013

    The anticipated backlash and fan resistance to hockey's return has been muffled at best in this market.

  • Wild-Nashville game preview

    Monday January 21, 2013

    Preview: The Wild is coming off its first 2-0 start since 2008-09, while the Predators lost 4-3 in a shootout against visiting St. Louis on Monday after losing in a...

  • Ryan Suter (right)

  • WILD DEFENSEMAN RYAN SUTER

    Up next: 7 tonight vs. Nashville • Xcel Energy Center • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 21 4th Qtr 10:51
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Phoenix 99 FINAL
New York 90
Portland 114 FINAL
New Orleans 88
Utah 86 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Atlanta 104 FINAL
Houston 97
San Antonio 93 FINAL
Dallas 99
Indiana 66 4th Qtr 2:36
Denver 69
Milwaukee 31 2nd Qtr 11:04
LA Clippers 28
Arizona 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 5 FINAL
Buffalo 1
Philadelphia 7 FINAL
Toronto 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Montreal 4
Washington 4 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Florida 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Chicago 2 FINAL(SO)
Columbus 3
Nashville 6 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 5
Calgary 0 2nd Prd 16:08
Vancouver 2
St. Louis 0 2nd Prd
San Jose 0
VA Commonwealth 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
SMU 62 FINAL
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 FINAL
American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
South Alabama 65 FINAL
IUPUI 71
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
Syracuse 77 FINAL
Villanova 82
Citadel 61 FINAL
Virginia Tech 64
Belmont 73 FINAL
Fairfield 61
St Bonaventure 69 FINAL
Binghamton 51
Montreat 64 FINAL
Campbell 90
Delaware 74 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 76
South Florida 62 FINAL
Florida State 75
Vanderbilt 60 FINAL
Georgia Tech 65
SC State 71 FINAL
Houston 63
Missouri 59 FINAL
Illinois 62
Truett-McConnell 55 FINAL
Jacksonville 84
Toledo 83 FINAL
McNeese State 69
Elon 71 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 64
Drexel 68 FINAL
Penn State 73
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Albany 64 FINAL
Yale 60
PSU-Beaver 74 FINAL
Longwood 106
Eastern Ill 60 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Indiana 82 FINAL
Butler 73
Marshall 58 FINAL
Arkansas State 67
Lafayette 69 FINAL
Kansas 96
Oral Roberts 63 FINAL
Memphis 78
Western Mich 61 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Delaware State 70 FINAL
Oregon 83
Fla Atlantic 56 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
Arkansas Tech 57 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 94
Howard Payne 50 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 89
UMBC 66 FINAL
Kennesaw St 53
St Josephs (IN) 54 FINAL
Chicago State 77
Eastern Mich 77 FINAL
Missouri State 65
UCLA 44 FINAL
Kentucky 83
UC Davis 81 FINAL
Air Force 75
Houston Baptist 67 FINAL
UC Riverside 78
Davidson 80 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 68
USC Upstate 53 FINAL
Miss State 51
NC Central 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 60
Illinois State 77 FINAL
Murray State 89
Louisiana 85 FINAL
Northwestern St 89
Oakland 77 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
Detroit 55 FINAL
Rhode Island 69
Presbyterian 60 FINAL
UT Martin 77
Monmouth 74 FINAL
Wagner 66
Southern U 39 FINAL
Wyoming 57
Iowa State 83 FINAL
Drake 54
Wake Forest 50 FINAL
Florida 63
High Point 80 FINAL
James Madison 71
Texas Southern 71 FINAL
Michigan State 64
New Hampshire 60 FINAL
Sacred Heart 73
Northeastern 78 FINAL
Santa Clara 72
Huston-Tillotson 56 FINAL
Texas State 90
Purdue 63 FINAL
Notre Dame 94
Prairie View 44 FINAL
Sam Houston St 61
Xavier 88 FINAL
Auburn 89
Bluffton 53 FINAL
Akron 92
NJIT 84 FINAL
Central Conn St 76
Hofstra 77 FINAL
Columbia 82
Boston Univ 62 FINAL
Dayton 78
Iona 81 FINAL
George Mason 86
Valparaiso 75 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 72
Texas A&M 64 FINAL
Kansas State 71
Morgan State 69 FINAL
Manhattan 73
Saint Josephs 75 FINAL
Marist 58
East Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 66
Richmond 65 FINAL
Pepperdine 63
La Salle 67 FINAL
Towson 53
Incarnate Word 110 FINAL
UMKC 104
CS-Bakersfield 59 FINAL
Idaho State 50
Iowa 44 FINAL
Northern Iowa 56
Milwaukee 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 61
Long Beach State 68 FINAL
Texas 78
TX-San Antonio 57 FINAL
TCU 88
SE Missouri St 67 FINAL
Arkansas 85
Lehigh 68 1st OT 0:58
Arizona State 68
New Mexico 69 FINAL
New Mexico St 67
Oklahoma 67 FINAL
Washington 69
Utah Valley U 61 FINAL
Weber State 73
Jacksonville St 60 FINAL
Northern Colorado 69
St Edwards 55 FINAL
Grand Canyon 81
NC State 46 2nd Half 12:20
West Virginia 50
TX A&M-CC 35 2nd Half 15:30
CS-Northridge 35
Cal Poly 26 2nd Half 16:12
Gonzaga 38
Fresno State 31 2nd Half 13:59
Pacific 44
Montana State 32 2nd Half 16:38
Portland 58
Ball State 26 2nd Half
San Diego St 36
South Dakota St 36 2nd Half 15:23
Utah State 31
Stanford 4 1st Half 17:22
BYU 11
Utah 10:30 PM
UNLV
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 7 3rd Qtr
Bowling Green 20
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Livingstone 77 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Dartmouth 70
Georgia Tech 65 FINAL
St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
Gardner-Webb 47 FINAL
Kennesaw St 50
(7) Stanford 40 FINAL
(11) Tennessee 59
Alabama A&M 47 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Central Michigan 45 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 80
Nebraska Omaha 50 FINAL
Creighton 67
FIU 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 83
Houston 65 FINAL
Nicholls 47
St Thomas Aquinas 45 FINAL
Army 70
St Bonaventure 72 FINAL
Niagara 60
Texas State 57 FINAL
Stetson 75
George Mason 65 FINAL
ULM 53
Grambling 38 FINAL
Kansas State 61
Missouri 79 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Robert Morris 59 FINAL
Cornell 70
Air Force 44 FINAL
Abilene Christian 80
Hampton 53 FINAL
James Madison 85
American Univ 64 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 52
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 68
Tenn Tech 49 FINAL
NC A&T 54
Presbyterian 45 FINAL
NC Central 33
Penn 58 FINAL
Drexel 67
Lipscomb 38 FINAL
Xavier 62
Vermont 40 FINAL
Green Bay 60
Charleston Southern 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 80
Ohio Christian 62 FINAL
Akron 97
Jacksonville 62 FINAL
Murray State 80
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Iona 58
Indiana 88 FINAL
Oakland 61
Indiana State 64 FINAL
SMU 55
Denver 51 FINAL
Purdue 65
TX-San Antonio 48 FINAL
Texas Tech 64
UCF 57 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 79
Campbell 66 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 55
Florida A&M 67 FINAL
SE Louisiana 69
Northwestern St 61 FINAL
Jackson State 62
Lehigh 61 FINAL
Arizona State 81
Valparaiso 65 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 77
Liberty 60 FINAL
Minnesota 74
Wofford 60 FINAL
North Florida 68
Montana State 61 FINAL
Washington St 82
Marshall 56 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 69
Morgan State 40 FINAL
Chattanooga 55
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Harvard 67
Furman 51 FINAL
(15) Georgia 58
(18) Michigan State 65 FINAL
(9) Baylor 84
Ohio U 52 FINAL
Massachusetts 59
Prairie View 48 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 86
Toledo 64 FINAL
Southern Ill 48
High Point 57 FINAL
(12) Nebraska 83
Winthrop 20 FINAL
Wichita State 66
William Jewell 59 FINAL
UMKC 51
Louisiana Tech 52 FINAL
Utah 67
Southern Utah 51 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
Hawaii 85 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 76
San Jose St 62 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Northridge 65 FINAL
San Diego State 54
Norfolk State 36 FINAL
East Carolina 65
Saint Peters 49 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 59
Arizona 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 72
Northwestern 92 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 44
Oral Roberts 52 FINAL
Wisconsin 70
Florida Atlantic 44 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
La Salle 76 FINAL
Georgia State 68
(16) Oregon State 73 FINAL
Nevada 50
Sacred Heart 72 FINAL
Villanova 49
Delaware 59 FINAL
Cincinnati 67
Troy 75 FINAL
Tennessee St 71
Saint Louis 68 FINAL
Utah Valley U 66
Washington 74 FINAL
UC-Riverside 71
Pacific 43 FINAL
Long Beach St 53
Old Dominion 69 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 63
Austin Peay 45 2nd Half 7:41
Montana 59
Lewis-Clark State 25 2nd Half 14:51
Idaho 48
(21) Miss State 34 1st Half 1:52
Illinois-Chicago 18

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday against Miami?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close