Washington Capitals forward prospect Riley Sutter was a guest on the True North Confidence podcast on Wednesday. The hour-long interview covered a wide range of topics, including Sutter’s time in the WHL, being the 12th player from the Sutter family to play pro hockey, being tested by opposing players for his name, his injuries, playing with the Capitals, playing with Alex Ovechkin and the stresses in competing at the pro level. [Warning: Language]
Going into the AHL this year, what where nerves like? Going to Capitals camp. How did you deal with your nerves?
“It was tough, honestly. Having guys, I knew a couple of guys going into it just from playing with or against them in junior. So that helped a lot. Like I had my linemate from Everette (Garrett Pilon) who was playing in Hershey the year before I did, so he like gave me the rundown on what to expect at camp”
Do you wanna give us the run down on what to expect at camp?
“There was a lot to take in, specially right after the draft, because I didn’t even come home. I had to go right there for my first camp (Capitals Development Camp). I didn’t take my gear to the draft, I thought I would have time to go home, so my first two days at camp I was wearing all new gear, I felt like a robot on the ice, and thought this was the worst thing that could have happened.”
“Development camp is a lot more stress-free than the main camp, because there are no NHL guys are there. It’s mostly guys your age, and the testing is not quite as hard, it’s more of a learning experience and meeting everyone. But once you get to main camp, then shit starts to get a lot more serious with the testing, at that point you are just trying to stick there as long as possible. And it’s a little intimidating times. Like at my first camp I remember we were broken into three teams, and the first line on my team was Oshie, Vrana, and I can’t remember who else. But we had a scrimmage one day and my first shift was against Ovechkin, Wilson and Kuznetsov, and that was probably one of the most terrifying things.”
What was it like playing against Ovi? Is he as big as he looks on TV?
“Oh, he’s massive. He looks big on TV when you’re watching him play, but when your are actually on the ice against him, your like “holy shit” this guy is a fucking giant.”
He has a barrel on him. He looks like a thick rig.
“Yeah, he’s a thickie for sure, but he can absolutely rip the pill. Rip the pill. And he’s an absolute freak in the gym. He’s just so strong.”
What did it feel like as you’re lining up against those guys? What’s going through your head?
“There is a ton of things. A little bit of nerves, excitement, kind of just like “is this actually happening?”, because obviously watching those guys the last few years before I got drafted, they were so successful the last couple of seasons, right before i was drafted. “This is insane”. Oshie, I wouldn’t say he was my favorite player, but I always enjoyed watching him. So once I actually got to actually meet the guy, and see him in person and socialize, play with and against him, “this is insane”. I wouldn’t have expected it ever, and now it’s actually happened. It’s a lot to take in…After meeting a majority of the guys, they are all really down to earth, and really genuine, and really care for younger guys”.
On playing with TJ Oshie
“Guys like Oshie, I got to actually have a decent relationship with him because he was in my (training camp) group. He reminded me to have fun, enjoy it, soak it all in…Just be a sponge, make the most of it, put your best effort in and you’ll do fine. Hearing guys like him say that to me, reminded me to be myself, play my game.”
What was the biggest stress at camp?
“I think the biggest thing for me, I was trying to compare myself to a lot of other guys. I came to realize, I just have to be myself, they drafted me for a reason. For me I always tried to compare myself to other guys. “
Leading up to the draft, what were some of the rumors? tell us about the draft.
“It was a crazy couple of days leading up to it. The day of was a whirlwind…I only talked to Washington once, they sent me a questionnaire during the season, then i met with them at the combine… that was it….I remember when my name got called, I kinda blocked out. Kinda forgot what was happening.”
“When i first hugged my family, the first one to cry was my mom or dad. My billet was there, my grandparents were there, my sister was there…honestly after my name was called i kinda blacked out… I couldn’t tell you one person from the Capitals I met at the table.”
Tell us about Ovi’s stick stall.
“When I went to my first main camp… I go into the locker room, I was looking at all of the guys sticks. He probably had 30 sticks in his stall, …different types of CCM’s… different flexes, all the same curve. I’ve never seen so many sticks in one stall in my life. He would use two sticks a practice…he would just blow sticks up.”
You can listen to the entire podcast here:
2018-2019 Washington Capitals Prospect Report: Riley Sutter
Capitals Prospect Riley Sutter Scores Twice (Again)
Riley Sutter: Signed, Sealed and Delivering
Washington Capitals Sign Riley Sutter to Three-Year Entry-Level Contract
Sutter: A Hockey Family History – Part 1
Sutter: A Hockey Family History – Part 2
By Jon Sorensen