MONTREAL -- The Canes' Brandon Sutter, knocked unconscious Saturday in the New York Islanders game, returned to Raleigh by train on Monday.
Sutter, who suffered a concussion, was released from a Long Island hospital on Sunday and spent Sunday night with his father, Brent, the coach of the New Jersey Devils.
"Brandon will be fine," Brent Sutter said today in an interview. "He's still suffering from whip-lash symptoms and is sore, but he was feeling much better (Monday) and was in a good state of mind, and his improvement is significant.
"He loves his team and is proud to be a Hurricane. He wants to get back as soon as he can."
Sutter was injured after a big hit to the head from the Islanders Doug Weight, a former Hurricane. He was reaching for the puck near mid-ice and put his head down just before Weight slammed into him with his shoulder.
"He was playing really well and I think he was starting to get confidence in what he was doing out there," forward Ray Whitney said after today's practice at the Bell Centre. "He got caught on the wrong end of something that was legal. It was hard and it's going to affect him for a little bit coming back."
What can be done to prevent such hits?
"If the league fined players where any blow to a man's head that causes that kind of injury came with a significant suspension, maybe," Whitney said. "It's also the duty of the player not to put himself in that position, but unfortunately if he does, it's up to the other player to realize that and maybe not hit him.
"It's a gray area because I don't know that at the speed we're going, and in Dougie and Brandon's situation, if that would have mattered. It's a gray area and you don't want to put it in other people's hands because once you put it in the league's hands, a lot will depend on the player. They're not going to suspend the superstars.
"It's a tough topic for the league. But I think with the speed and size of the players now we have to do something that makes players consciously think about not taking a hit to somebody's head."
Canes captain Rod Brind'Amour said it's as much a player issue as a league issue.
"Guys have got to know when guys are in vulnerable positions and you've got to know where not to take liberties on guys," he said.