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Duane Sutter: 'Winner always had to buy the beer'

New Florida Panthers coach Duane Sutter answers question

New Florida Panthers coach Duane Sutter answers question for the media Thursday, Dec. 28, 2000, during a press conference in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers with only six wins in 36 games fired coach Terry Murray on Thursday, along with his brother, vice president and general manager Bryan Murray. (AP Photo/Steve Mitchell) Credit: AP, 2000

In the aftermath of the Staal-on-Staal violence we saw on Tuesday, it seemed like a good time to catch up one member of the original multiple brother act in the NHL.

Duane (Dog) Sutter -- four-time Stanley Cup champion, owner of one of the better nicknames in NHL history -- did see Eric Staal's hit on brother Marc and had no problems with it whatsoever.

"You can see there Eric had no intention at all to try and injure his brother," said Sutter, who is now the Flames director of player personnel. "It's a solid hit."

As for his own decade in the NHL, which coincided with the careers of five of his brothers, Duane said there were occasions when Sutter mixed it up with Sutter.

"One year on the Island [1980-81], we were battling with St. Louis for the top overall spot in the league and Brian and I had a few goes at one another," Duane said. "And when the twins [Rich and Ron] were in Philly, there were definitely some battles.

"The only rule was: Winner always had to buy the beer. If you let that stuff carry over beyond a game, it's bad for everyone in the family."

He feels for Henry and Linda Staal, the parents of the four hockey-playing Staal boys. When the Sutters mixed it up on the ice, Grace and Lewis Sutter, back in Viking, Alberta, had the toughest time with it.

"Dad wouldn't have said anything," Duane said. "Mother would. 'What the hell are you guys doing to each other out there?' Something like that."

The bonds of blood are always strong. Sutter came on in Calgary to work with older brother Darryl as GM; Brent, his kid brother and Isles teammate, is the Flames coach, even after Darryl was let go two months ago.

And Duane can immediately recall a dirty hit in recent memory.

"Nephew Brandon, when he got hit by [Isles captain] Doug Weight last year," Duane said of the hit on the Hurricanes forward, Brent's son. "Weight came from all the way across the ice. Those sorts of plays don't have to happen, and there's a way to settle these dirty hits on the ice, within the rules of the game."

New York Sports