Dallas Stars agitator Ryan Garbutt has already been suspended three times through the first 157 games of his career.
Following his most recent suspension, Garbutt knows he has to change his ways.
“When you’re out, you realize how big a part of your life this is, and you want to make sure you do things right,” Garbutt told The Dallas Morning News. “It’s mental preparation, and I’ve been working on that away from the rink. It’s keeping your emotions in check even when things aren’t going your way. I think I have been better at that. I want to be sure whatever I do helps the team.”
Steve Ott, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Stars, understands what Garbutt is going through.
The St. Louis Blues’ forward says Garbutt will learn from experience.
“It is hard for players who are walking the line. What’s keeping you in the league is that edge, so you don’t want to lose that edge,” said Ott. “But I think the more you play, the more you understand how to stay on the good side of that line. It takes some time.”
Ott, who has had his run-ins with the Department of Player Safety previously, hasn’t been suspended since 2009.
“Y’know, I don’t think it’s the penalties or suspensions or even the fines that really kill you. I think the hardest thing is walking back into the room and facing your teammates when you know you have been a detriment to your team,” he said. “The hardest part is the guilt factor of having to face your own teammates and tell them, ‘I’m sorry, I hurt the team with what I did.’”
Garbutt has six goals and 11 points to go along with 24 penalty minutes in 26 games this season.