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16 ноября 2009 года. 
Blue Jackets' Tyutin in another early funk // The Columbus Dispatch

By Tom Reed

Early last season, as Nikolai Zherdev piled up points in New York and Fedor Tyutin made break-out passes to no one in particular, some Blue Jackets fans wondered why the franchise traded for the soft-spoken Russian defenseman.

But as Zherdev's production faded and Tyutin's game stabilized, the four-player deal was debated less frequently. In time, Tyutin developed into arguably the Jackets' best all-around defenseman.

The organization and its fans hope history repeats itself.

Tyutin has had another uneven start to the season. His unforced error in the opening minutes of Wednesday's game led to the first of nine Detroit goals.

But Friday night, Tyutin played one of his best games in a 3-2 shootout win against Anaheim. He made a diving poke-check on Ryan Getzlaf that saved a goal with the score tied in the dying seconds of the second period.

"Fedor has a tendency to be a slow starter and then he picks it up and takes it to another level," Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He is like a lot of veteran players. It takes time for him to get his competitive juices up."

Tyutin's offensive numbers, one goal and six assists, are virtually identical to last season after 18 games. His penchant for the occasional open-ice turnover is also similar.

"He has been a little inconsistent, and he would probably be the first to admit his game has not been up to his standards," said assistant coach Gord Murphy, who works with the defensemen.

Tyutin, a minus-7, has plenty of company among Jackets' players searching for consistency. It's a testament to their growing talent level that the Jackets aren't in sync yet own a respectable 10-6-2 record.

The Jackets too often have been loose with the puck and inattentive to defensive detail. As a result, their goals-against average has climbed from 2.72 last season to 3.50.

"It feels like we are not in the right spot at the right time," Tyutin said. "We don't work as a mechanism as we did before. There are passes off skates and passes off the tape and it's coming back at us. The execution has to go way up.

"I've got to make better passes for sure."

Tyutin is good at moving the puck under duress. It's when he has 25 feet of open ice, as he did against the Red Wings, that things can become adventurous.

He is like the football quarterback who seems to operate better in the face of a blitz than the comfort of an airtight pocket.

"Sometimes, when you are skating out of the zone and no one is around you, you have too much time to think," Murphy said. "You start to think, 'If I'm open, everyone else must be covered.' "

While many see the turnovers, Murphy said, some don't appreciate subtleties of Tyutin's game. He breaks up rushes with deft poke checks, wins lots of battles in the corners and makes quick defensive plays in tight spaces.

Tyutin is at his best with his nose pressed to the Plexiglas, a forechecker about to crash into him.

"He is very evasive," Murphy said. "He almost invites the pressure in and then traps a forechecker or two with a quick little pass."

The Jackets wish they knew why Tyutin's Octobers and early Novembers are problematic. He offered no theories.

Murphy said Tyutin was hurt this season by not having a regular partner until recently being paired with Anton Stralman. He also was miscast as a shutdown defender, Murphy added, in the absences of Mike Commodore and Jan Hejda.

Tyutin plays in all facets and leads the team in ice time per game (23:10). Because of the team's paucity of offensive defensemen, he works the point on the power play more out of necessity.

"Sometimes, when you play a lot you have a tendency to pace yourself a bit," Hitchcock said.

It was about this time last year that Tyutin, 26, began elevating his play. He finished the season with a career-high nine goals and 25 assists. He also is the only player involved in the four-man deal currently in the NHL.

Tyutin's performance Friday against the Ducks -- good first passes out of the zone and reliable defensive play -- perhaps will jump-start his season.

"He was a very determined player," Hitchcock said. "He has the skill to be a top-3 defenseman (on a team) in this league. But it's his competitiveness that drives his skill."

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