Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

As confidence grows for Tampa Bay Lightning's Artyukhin, so do his contributions

TAMPA — Lightning left wing Mark Recchi considered the package that is teammate Evgeny Artyukhin — 6 feet 5, 254 pounds of straight-ahead aggression — and gave an oral shudder.

"I don't want him coming at me," Recchi said. "I'm glad he was away for a couple of years."

The timing has been perfect for Recchi, whose first season with Tampa Bay coincides with Artyukhin's return after two years playing in his native Russia.

It was perfect for Artyukhin as well, as the Lightning, in desperate need of big, physical bodies, settled a two-year contract dispute and gave the right wing an opportunity to succeed.

He was a differencemaker in Saturday's 3-2 victory over the Senators at the St. Pete Times Forum with a game-high eight shots and six hits, and the winning goal in the eighth round of the shootout.

"He's getting more confident," coach Barry Melrose said after Tampa Bay's third straight win. "I think he's starting to realize what we want out of him, and he's getting rewarded with ice time for the way he's playing."

Artyukhin, 25, who during the summer signed a two-year, $1.9-million deal, is a rough-edged work in progress.

He loves carrying the puck but tends to lose control, though not as much as earlier in the season.

He is not afraid to battle for pucks and get to the net. As he improves his puck control, which will translate into more shots, it would seem a matter of time before he starts putting some in the net.

Most notable, though, is Artyukhin's speed and fluidity as a skater.

It doesn't take long, despite a seemingly effortless stride, for him to build up a head of steam. That is when heads need to be up because Artyukhin will hit you with full board-rattling force.

"I'll tell you," Melrose said, "when Arty goes over the boards, guys on the other team know. You can see them elbowing each other. They don't want to play against that guy, and that's good."

Artyukhin, with zero goals, one assist and four penalty minutes while averaging 11:19 of ice time on a line with Recchi and Jussi Jokinen, said he wants to be a complete player.

Converting his first NHL shootout opportunity was another step.

"I score it and goals will come, so it was real important for me," said Artyukhin, who had four goals, 17 points and 90 penalty minutes in 72 games for Tampa Bay in 2005-06.

"In my mind, I feel like I can be a better player, score and help the team win games, play physical. I feel like right now I'm picking up my game because the coach is giving our line more ice time."

Artyukhin played 16:02 against Ottawa and made the most of it. His rink-long rushes jazzed the fans, but even Artyukhin admitted they too often ended with the puck rolling off his stick.

Even so, "He's getting more confident with the puck," Recchi said. "And he's starting to understand the concept of stops and starts. He's so big and strong, when he stops and starts, he's going to be much more effective."

Coming right at you.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

As confidence grows for Tampa Bay Lightning's Artyukhin, so do his contributions 11/02/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 3:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots

    Bucs

    BOSTON — Tests conducted on the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and his attorney said Thursday that the player's daughter is suing the NFL and the New England Patriots for leading Hernandez to believe the sport …

    Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. [AP photo]
  2. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings

    Bucs

    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 6:05: Cash gave both CF Kevin Kiermaier and SS Adeiny Hechavarria a day off, noting they have been playing pretty much everyday. ... That also gave them a chance to look more at two of their younger position players, OF Mallex Smith and INF Daniel Robertson. ... Cash said he was happy for Beckham that he …

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.
  4. From the archives: Account of famed Riggs-King match heightens Tampa mob intrigue

    Tennis

    With the Sept. 29 opening of "Battle of the Sexes" — the movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell about Billie Jean King's landmark 1973 tennis win over Bobby Riggs — we thought there might be renewed interest in this 2013 Peter Jamison story from the Tampa Bay Times.

    Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in "Battle of the Sexes."  [Melinda Sue Gordon, Fox Searchlight Pictures]
  5. It's not a game, but the names are all the same in this football family

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA — A coach yells across the field into a scrum of blue-and-white clad football bodies at Jefferson High: "Kim Mitchell! Kim Mitchell, come here!"

    These twins are not only identical, but they have almost identical names. Kim Mitchell III, left, and Kim Mitchell IV are  talented football players at Jefferson High with Division I-A college offers. Kim  III wears No. 22 and plays cornerback while Kim IV wears No. 11 and plays safety. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)