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ноября 2005 года.
Rookie Artyukhin's Play Starting To Get Noticed - Tampa Bay Tribune
TAMPA - -- Much like that night four years ago when he first saw Evegeni Artyukhin plow over helpless defenseman after helpless defenseman, Lightning general manager Jay Feaster's heartbeat raced a little faster Thursday night as he watched Artyukhin wreak havoc against the Islanders in limited playing time.
After Tampa Bay's 3-2 win, Artyukhin, who played only 6 minutes, 54 seconds on 11 shifts, was a popular subject during Feaster's conversation with Coach John Tortorella. "You noticed him all 11 times he stepped onto the ice," Feaster said Friday. "Those are the guys who matter to us."
While an unproven rookie in most eyes, the 22-year-old Artyukhin's hard-charging, unpolished play is being noticed more and more. Veteran teammate Dave Andreychuk said more than one opponent has skated over recently and asked, "Who in the heck is No. 76?"
New Jersey defenseman Brian Rafalski, all 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds of him, ended up as road kill after the 6-4, 255-pound Artyukhin ran him over in a game Oct. 26.
"He's got so much raw talent," Andreychuk said. "He's got a little bit of mean streak in him, too. He doesn't mind to lay his body out. Other teams come in, and they don't know who he is. So he can very effective."
Artyukhin, a right wing, made his presence felt most Thursday on the sequence that led to Brad Richards' second-period goal. Artyukhin gained possession of the puck with a bulldozing forecheck, then blazed up the ice into New York's zone, recording an assist on the goal that put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1.
Artyukhin's dynamic combination of speed, power and skill as a skater have the Lightning excited about the possibilities ahead for their 2001 third-round draft pick out of Russia.
"I have to find a way to get him more ice time," Tortorella said after Thursday's victory. "With the new rules, if he grabs the puck and he has a head of steam coming down the wing, he cannot be stopped. He has done some very good things."
In fact, he's done enough to provide the Lightning with an interesting dilemma. Based on his league-minimum salary of $450,000, Artyukhin is earning around $2,500 every day he's on the Lightning's active roster. With Tampa Bay only about $1.8 million under the NHL's $39 million salary cap, the longer Artyukhin remains on the roster, the less maneuvering ability they will have at the trade deadline.
Still, it's hard to argue he can't help the club at this point.
"It could be an interesting situation," Tortorella said. "I envisioned him in this league within a couple of years."
In 14 games, and an average of 8:42 of ice time per game, Artyukhin has one goal, four assists and is a plus-1. While at times he has shown a resistance to playing within the team's system, he has also shown a willingness to conform of late.
"There have been some battles," Feaster said. "I love him, but he's a stubborn guy. From the time we drafted him, we knew we had NHL size and speed. The issue was would he be willing to learn our system and do the things we need him to do."
As he worked out on a stationary bike following Friday's practice, Artyukhin said in his much-improved English he is willing to do whatever it takes to stick with the club.
"I'm trying to play hard the best I can to help the team win games," he said. "I want to play in the NHL and I want to work hard so I can make this team. I'm so excited."
So is Feaster, who still talks like a kid opening Christmas gifts when he recalls first watching Artyukhin play in an under-18 tournament in Utah in 2001.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw him play there," Feaster recalled Friday. "He would skate across the ice and plaster some poor defenseman, and they would call a penalty because the defenseman was lying crumpled in the corner.
"He's such a big man and he skates so incredibly well. It's a work in progress. He's a young kid, but certainly thus far he has brought a real dimension to our team we're excited about."
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19 ноября. Rookie Artyukhin's Play Starting To Get
Noticed - Tampa Bay Tribune
19 ноября. Rookie Artyukhin's Play Starting To Get Noticed - Tampa Bay Tribune