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Avalanches Fedor Tyutin and Rene Bourque have nothing but good things to say about Columbus
20 2016 . The Denver Post. By TERRY FREI

COLUMBUS Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, who was an assistant and then head coach of the Blue Jackets American Hockey League affiliate, wont be the only man on the Colorado bench Monday night at Nationwide Arena with ties to Columbus.

Colorado defenseman Fedor Tyutin, now in the top Avalanche pairing with Erik Johnson, spent eight seasons with the Blue Jackets before Columbus last summer bought out the final two seasons of his contract. He was scheduled to make $4.75 million and $4 million those two seasons and under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the Blue Jackets are on the hook for $1.46 million a year for the next four years. The Avalanche quickly signed Tyutin, 33, to a one-year, $2 million deal.

Avalanche winger Rene Bourque finished up his six-year, $20 million contract with the Blue Jackets, who acquired him from Anaheim late in the 2014-15 season. He had three goals in 49 games last season, then wasnt offered a new deal and made the Avalanche on a professional tryout at training camp.

For sure, Columbus has a special place in my heart, Tyutin said. I was there quite a few years and I have quite a few friends left in that city. Im sure Ill be a little emotional. They all were good to me the organization and the fans, and I still have lots of friends there in the organization too. No, I dont feel (bitterness) that way one bit.

With Matt Duchene and Gabe Landeskog out, Bourque recently has mostly been playing on the Carl Soderberg-centered second line with Mikko Rantanen, and Bourque has five goals in 15 games, second only to Duchenes six goals. Duchene practiced with the Avalanche again Sunday and if he is able to play Monday, Bourque will slide down to the third line.

Bourque said of his season-plus stint with the Blue Jackets: I liked it. Last season was a tough year. We had such high expectations going into the year, the way they finished strong the season the year before. There definitely was a lot of optimism going into the season.

We had a really good preseason and then a terrible start to the season. It just snowballed and went downhill from there and it was tough to recover from that. For me personally, I had a chance to play and once we started losing, young guys were playing. I understood that. Thats what they had to do to develop some young guys, just the part of being around for a while and being a good veteran and trying to help other teammates however you can. Personally, it was a tough year because I didnt really play much and was sitting out quite a bit. But I have nothing but good things to say about my teammates, the organization and the city. We enjoyed it.

The Blue Jackets fired Todd Richards as coach after an 0-7 start last season and brought in the fiery John Tortorella.

You know what, I respect Torts, Bourque said. Hes demanding. He was very honest with people, he was very fair in that way. He didnt give any B.S. answers. He was telling you if you were playing good or if you were not, and he wants the guys to get better. You can see this year, theyre off to a good start. I think theyve really made some big improvements.

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