Devils coach Brent Sutter said his son, Brandon, is "improving" after the Carolina Hurricanes rookie center suffered a concussion and lost consciousness on a hit by the Islanders' Doug Weight on Saturday night.
Sutter drove his son to Penn Station in New York this morning to catch a train back to Raleigh, N.C. because he is not allowed to fly so soon after having a concussio. The train left Penn Station at 7 a.m. and is supposed to arrive in Raleigh at 4:30 p.m
Brandon Sutter spent Sunday night at his father's condo in New Jersey after being released from North Shore Hospital on Long Island earlier in the day. Brent Sutter said he spent Saturday night at the hospital with Brandon, who was held overnight in intensive care.
"They monitored him very closely," Brent Sutter said.
Sutter said his son did not recognize him at first.
"He kept asking the (Hurricanes) trainer questions," Sutter said. "He said, 'what was the score tonight? Who did we play?' He slept a little bit and woke up and said, 'Dad! What are you doing here?'"
Sutter said his son's memory improved by Sunday morning, though he still does no remember the hit by Weight or anything that happened after it.
"That's normal for anybody," Sutter said. "Sometimes you get your memory back quicker."
Sutter got word that his son was injured on the bus ride back from Philadelphia on Saturday night. His wife, Connie, watched it live on television from Red Deer, Alberta.
"It was hard on her," Sutter said. "She was watching the game. She was pretty upset about it."
Sutter said his wife planned to go to Raleigh and stay with Brandon for a week. "He can't do much," he said. "He can't drive."
Sutter didn't see a replay of the hit until Sunday. He tried to avoid talking about it.
"I told myself I wouldn't respond when I get asked about it because I'm Brandon's dad and I'm coaching at the same level," he said. "I'll just say a check like that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago."
The longer he spoke the more he said, though.
"In today's game it's considered a clean check, yet it's a check that is also a very dangerous check," Sutter said. "When a player is vulnerable like that, you're putting yourself in a position to injure another player."
Brandon Sutter was leaning forward, trying to handle a puck that had rolled off his stick when Weight hit him.
"Brandon won't do that again," Sutter said. "He's a pretty smart player."
Sutter reiterated that he was uncomfortable talking about the hit because it would be viewed as a father talking about his son being injured, but said, "I know firsthand a check like that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago because you know what the consequences would have been."
Sutter admitted he was "knocked out 10-11, time in my career and I played through it. I'm not saying that's a good thing. That's probably why I'm screwed up now."
Sutter admitted it was fortunate that his son was injured on Long Island, which allowed him to go visit him, but said it would have been better if Brandon wasn't injured at all.
"I wish he could have been on the flight to Montreal with the team and it didn't happen," he said. "But it happened and the Hurricanes did a great job."