Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wilds' Ryan Suter Getting Major Minutes and Loving it.



Could Minnesota's Ryan Suter be the first NHL defenseman to average over 30 minutes a game since Chris Pronger did it in the 1999-2000 season? He has a chance.

Though the odds are against logging in 30 a game when the season's done, the fact that he's nearly on pace to do so after 22 games is quite remarkable. It's also a testament to the efficiency of the 9th-year blueliner, who knows when to turn it up and when to dial it down during games.

According to NHL.com, Suter was averaging 29:36 per game, which led the NHL by more than two minutes heading into last night's blowout loss to Montreal. Even more remarkable, Suter played over 35 minutes in three consecutive games from Nov. 7 to Nov. 13, amounting to 108:19, the most ever in a three game stretch since the NHL began recording the stat in 2000 (according to Elias Sports).

How is he doing it?

He stays within himself. "Maybe instead of jumping up and making plays, you just sit back a bit and rest up," Suter told NHL.com. "Then that following shift, you can get back out there and create again."

It might seem run-of-the-mill to Suter, but his teammates tend to be blown away. "In Washington [Nov. 7], we were on a power play and I changed and he was still on the ice," Wild forward Jason Pominville said. "For a little while, I was on the bench and turned and saw him skating the puck up the ice and I was like, 'Oh my God, Sutes is still out there?' It's unreal.'"

Even Suter's head coach, Mike Yeo, is amazed. "You look at the box score through two [periods], he's already at 20 minutes, which is a lot. Then he plays another 15 or 16 minutes in the third period and in overtime. It's mind-boggling," Yeo said. "When you look at it after the game, and you see how well he was still playing at the end, that's what's most amazing."

Last night Suter logged 26:56 in 30 shifts against the Habs, coming in as a minus-3.