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|Blue Jackets' Fedor Tyutin is 'Mr. Consistency'
29 сентября 2014 года. By Rick Getnin. FOX Sport Ohio.
In the six seasons since being traded to the Blue Jackets from the New York Rangers, Fedor Tyutin's point total has been a constant on a team in flux. With a low of 22 points in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 (48 games) season to a high of 34 points in 2008-09, Tyutin is almost the very definition of consistency.
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary: Consistent -- (adjective) always acting or behaving in the same way.
Columbus head coach Todd Richards, a former defenseman himself, sees no need to worry or wonder about what he's going to get from Tyutin night after night.
"He's a pro," said Richards. "He's been through it. He's done it. He's a guy that doesn't really have to be coached. I mean, we coach him by giving him information. But, from a coaching standpoint, I don't worry about him. I don't worry about him being ready for practice. I don't worry about him doing the drills right. I'm not worried about his preparation before a game.
"He has good games and he has bad games, just like everyone does. He's not a robot where everything is the same. Mistakes will be made. But from a preparation, effort standpoint and commitment standpoint, I never worry about him."
He's a quiet guy that goes about the business of hockey with a subdued efficiency. He's not very talkative, yet is friendly with a subtle smile. Richards coaching style and system seem to mesh very well with the way Tyutin plays the game.
"Yeah, for sure," he said. "Of course, you've got to be comfortable with the coach and his system. It's a big part of it, for sure."
What stands out about his performance is his going through the transformation of the team from a prolonged period of mediocrity to one that is a serious playoff contender. He's achieved this level of consistency while answering to four different head coaches behind the bench, all within a six-year span.
With the depth of the organization finally being deeper than a kiddie pool, he knows that these kids are the future of Blue Jackets hockey. The talent of these young players is not lost on him, either.
"I think that fans can sense the special players (coming up) and we can see it," Tyutin said. "Things have been changing and it started in the front office and goes down to the way we are drafting and making moves. Of course, it's good to have some good young talent on the team that has the potential to be here for a long time and be good players."
The focus on winning the ultimate prize in hockey, the Stanley Cup, gained momentum last season as the expectations grew within the dressing room. The players began to believe they could do it and are making positive strides in that direction. Tyutin is no exception and has high expectations of his own play.
"Of course," he said. "Ever since I got here, it's been my expectation to play in the playoffs every year. I think if you ask anybody (on the team), no one goes into the season thinking 'we'll see what happens.' I can tell you that our expectations are to not only make the playoffs, but to win the (Stanley) Cup, you know? I think we're in the right place and doing the right steps as a team. That's our expectation, to win the Cup."
His personal expectations speak to how highly others think of him.
"My expectation is to just be a solid defender first of all. I want to stay stable and consistent on defense. I want to play to my ability." And that, he does.
Last year, the Blue Jackets were the youngest team in the NHL. This year, they're not much older but do have a fruitful year of experience under their belts. The 31-year-old Russian "walks the talk" and the younger players use him as an example of how to be a professional.
"He's a true pro," said associate coach Craig Hartsburg. "He's a settling influence on the group. It's not so much him saying a lot. I think Tyutin's a guy that just comes to the rink every day and is very consistent. He's reliable in his game and reliable in his preparation."
Hartsburg, having been a defenseman, sees Tyutin as almost the epitome of what it means to be a "Blue Jacket" and espouse the mantra of "Blue Jackets hockey."
"He's a guy that is a warrior for me," continued Hartsburg. "He takes hits to make plays and he can dish out some big hits, too. He plays with a lot of courage. Another trait of 'character' is courage and he has a great deal of it."
Hartsburg expanded his thoughts about Tyutin and the character that he exudes. "When you talk about character," he said, "one of the traits of a character player is that they're consistent. They're consistent in everything they do on a daily basis... his preparation, his practices and off-ice, too. That's Toots. You know that no player is ever perfect every night, but his game is pretty much similar every day."
The quiet efficiency of Fedor Tyutin underscores what it means to the fans and the city of Columbus for the team to do well, each and every year. He's seen the transformation of the city from one of thinking "ho hum, there's a hockey team here" to one of "OH YEAH! It's the Blue Jackets!"
"That's great, for sure," he said. "We could sense it over the summer after that good run last year. The city embraces hockey more and the people are getting more excited about it. It just gives us that extra energy, that extra boost, you know? We can feel the city behind us."
Todd Richards related this story from a few years ago that goes to the heart of exactly what kind of player Tyutin is. It speaks volumes about what the identity of this team really is.
"What showed a lot to me about his character, a lot to me, was the year that I took over (January, 2012), we were a 30th place team. With about 10 games to go, he broke his hand. You would think sometimes, in a situation like that, '30th place team, the season is over with, you break your hand... alright, the season is over with, get ready for next year.'"
"He was upset, visibly upset, that he was going to miss the last 10 games of the season. To me, that says a lot about his character. He wanted to play when there wasn't anything really to play for."
His subtle demeanor belies the intensity that he brings to all facets of the game of hockey. Everyone knows what they're going to get from Tyutin every minute of every shift he's on the ice. It carries through to the way he handles himself off the ice, as well.
"Character and pride, you see it every day when you're around him," said Richards. "The way he approaches the game is a little different based on his personality. He's a quiet guy and he's a little bit more reserved. He doesn't show a lot of emotion.
"But, you know that he cares. He cares a lot about the organization and he cares a lot about his teammates."