Tyutin breaks through into the club of the millionaires

By Eugene Belashchenko

Written By: Evgeny Belashchenko, Mikhail Zislis
Originally published: Ves Hokkei Newspaper, March 2004

Translated By: Evgeny Belashchenko

Who would have thought at the beginning of the season, that the 20-year-old defenseman Fedor Tyutin would already consistently skate for the New York Rangers this season. This is impressive, especially considering that during the past
month, the young Russian has spent more than 20 minutes on the ice in each game.

You decided to try yourself in the NHL. Did you have any doubts? You are
very young, and the New York Rangers are known as a club that buries stars and
young talent. Why did you risk it?
F. Tyutin:
First of all, I signed a contract with the club. I did not
really have a choice, simply, they made me come here. I think that every young
player wants to try their abilities in the NHL and I am no exception. So, I don’t
think I came here for no reason, since I am now playing in the NHL.

Were you promised a chance to play in the NHL?
F. Tyutin:
You are not promised anything here. Everything depends only
on you, and how you play.

Did you miss part of the season?
F. Tyutin:
Yes, I strained my knee, and missed quite a bit of time. I
have completely recovered and the injury is no longer bothering me. Everything
is fine.

What did you learn while playing for the Rangers AHL farm club where you
started the season?
F. Tyutin:
I wouldn’t say that I learned a lot there. Maybe the
only thing I adjusted to was the smaller ice surface than in Russia. The hockey
there is rougher, but there aren’t that many good players there, and that
is where lies the problem. Those that don’t make it to the NHL play in the
AHL, so the league has a lot of North-South type players, who play very simple
and straightforward hockey.

There are no other Russian players on the Hartford Wolfpack’s roster.
How did you get along there?
F. Tyutin:
I survived, as you can see! (laughing) I interacted with the
Americans in English, what else could I’ve done? I knew the language a bit,
since I already spent a year in the juniors, playing in Canada. So, I can say
a few words.

Under what circumstances were you called up to the Rangers?
F. Tyutin:
Right after I returned from my, when I was already skating
but haven’t yet played in any games. As soon as my knee got better, I was
called up to New York right away. The doctor examined me and right after that
I started to practice with the NHL club. I didn’t play a single game for
the farm club after returning from the injury. At the time Darius Kasparaitis
and Greg De Vries were out of the lineup for the Rangers.

Still, on the Rangers most of the players are very famous. How did you
adapt to the new team, and in such a leading role?
F. Tyutin:
Everything was fine. The players interact on that club in
the same way as in any other club. Also, I already played in two games for the
Rangers during the training camp. Then, when it was my first time, some things
surprised me, but now there were no surprises.

You are currently very productive for a defenseman, eve though your team
is not playing very convincingly.
F. Tyutin:
I don’t know, I work hard, and that is why things are
working for me (laughing). During the first couple of games, I did not get as
much ice time as I would have liked, but I did need to get used to the game. Now
things are easier.

Were you worried at first?
F. Tyutin:
Of course, especially during the first couple of shifts. This
is the best league in the world and the players are famous. However, there are
players here who don’t always have good games (smiling).

Who was your defensive pairing partner?
F. Tyutin:
I always played together with Boris Mironov. We split our
responsibilities equally, and play on the offensive in turn as well. Boris always
helps me out beyond the ice as well. We live in the same hotel room on the road.
He took me under his wing, and you could now say that Boris is my right hand.

Does the coach criticize you for joining in on the attack?
F. Tyutin:
No, why would he? (smiling) I don’t always run on the
attack, only on certain occasions. The most important thing is, I get back into
our zone in time.

Which opponent was the most difficult from you to play against?
F. Tyutin:
There are no easy ggames here. Still, the most difficult opponent
were the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers. They are both good teams,
and play very well, leading their respective divisions. All four of their lines
are approximately equal. Every line can score. Every forward on the squad is dangerous.

Do you feel you have developed a lot during the season?
F. Tyutin:
You always continue to develop in everything. I need to continue
to work on things. I am happy that I am putting up points, and have already scored
a couple of goals.

Do you remember how you scored your first NHL goal?
F. Tyutin:
Yes, it was against Florida while we were short handed, playing
3 against 5. One of their forwards gave a cross ice pass, and I intercepted
it, went around a defenseman and then shot the puck. The emotions overwhelmed
me, since I scored such a great goal. I myself didn’t expect such a goal
from me. During the first seconds I myself didn’t understand what I did.

Just prior to the trade deadline, what was the mood in the locker room?

F. Tyutin:
The atmosphere was professional regardless of what was going
on. Everyone is a professional and they know that anyone can be trade. There was
no pressure on the team, on the contrary, everyone was walking around, joking.
Everyone knew, that he could be traded.

Your team is not going to make the playoffs. How do you deal with this
when you go back on the ice?
F. Tyutin:
Of course, it is difficult. Right now we lose a lot more games
than we win. Of course, there is no satisfaction in this. When I first joined
the team, I didn’t really pay much attention to this, but now things are
different. I want to win, but it’s not coming together for us right now.
Here, teams battle until the end. Even Pittsburgh, which has been out of the playoff
race for a long time, still managed to win several games in a row recently. There
is no such thing there, that if you are no longer contending for a playoff spot,
you give up. Everyone fights and tries to win each and every game.

If you were to be invited to Russia’s national team (for the World
Championships – RP), will you go?
F. Tyutin:
I would like to, of course. I am always ready to go, and skate
for Russia’s national team, if I am invited. I would be more than happy.
However, I just heard that Rangers management wants to send me to the farm club
at the end of the NHL season. Hartford currently holds the first place in their
conference, making the playoffs.

If there is a lockout next season, what do you plan to do?
F. Tyutin:
I would, of course, like to go back to Russia. It would be
nice to start the season there and then see what happens.

Do you still have a contract with Ak Bars Kazan?
F. Tyutin:
The contract with Ak Bars expires at the end of this season.
So, in the case of an NHL lockout, I will figure out this summer where I will
be playing next season.