Since being recalled from the AHL on Oct. 24, 20-year-old Hurricanes center Brandon Sutter
(below) has shown great consistency, especially in puck possession. He looks like one of the league's most improved players, and he got an early holiday present last week when he stepped off a team flight and G.M. Jim Rutherford told him to find an apartment in Raleigh.... Blue Jackets forward and 2008 first-round pick Nikita Filatov was sent back to Russia because he couldn't earn steady minutes under coach Ken Hitchcock. Columbus G.M. Scott Howson handled a delicate situation deftly. Filatov's an exciting talent who must build strength and improve his on-ice savvy; by loaning him to a KHL team, on which he'll get plenty of ice time, Howson hopes to speed Filatov's growth. Columbus also gets salary cap relief.