Thursday, July 22, 2010

Focus on a Thrasher: Evgeny Artyukhin

In early March of 2010, the Thrashers got a BIG (literally, he's 6'4'')shot in the arm when they picked up Arty from Anaheim in exchange for one of my favorites, Nathan Oystrick and a conditional pick. It's looking like he probably won't be here next season, but I enjoyed watching him while he was here. And remember, he only has to have finished the season as a Thrasher to qualify for a "Focus on a Thrasher" post.

Evgeny was born in Moscow on April 4, 1983. He started his hockey career with the Vityaz Pololsk in the Tarasov division of the KHL. The 2000-01 was his first full season. In 2001 he also helped lead Team Russia to a gold medal in the World U18 Championships.

In the 2001 NHL Entry draft, Arty was selected in the 3rd round, 97th over all by the Tampa Bay Lightning. After finishing up the season in Russia, Evgeny came to North America to play major junior hockey in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats. He played 53 games, scoring 40 points (13 goals and 27 assists). He also had 204 penalty minutes!

Evgeny spent most of the 2003-04 season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL. He did play 6 games for in the ECHL for the Pensacola Ice Pilots, old nemesis of my first favorite team, the Mobile Mystics. For the 2004-05 season, he stayed in the AHL, but played with the Springfield Falcons.

The 2005-06 season saw Arty make his NHL debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning, appearing in 72 games with them. He ranked third in the NHL in rookie hits and led the team with 138. Though he spent most of the year with Tampa, contract negotiations soured and he left for Russia. Arty spent the 2006-07 season with Locomotive Yaroslavl.

After playing the 2006–07 season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Artyukhin rejected a $475,000 contract from the Tampa Bay Lightning. His agent asked Tampa Bay to trade him, claiming that the Lightning were punishing Arty for not resigning a year before. It is believed that Evgeny was seeking a $1 million contract. On July 7, 2008, the Tampa Bay Lightning officially re-signed Artyukhin to a two year deal worth $1.9 million.

The 2008-09 season saw Arty playing in 73 games and scoring 16 points while putting up 151 PIM. He also established career bests for goals, plus/minus, penalty minutes, shots on goal (100) and averaged 10:40 TOI.

In August of 2009, Arty was traded to the Anaheim Ducks. Arty had become a fan of the movie "The Mighty Ducks" as a child in Russia after seeing the movie. He didn’t have the opportunity to see many movies in Russia, so he said “it’s like a dream come true” now that he’s playing for the club.

Well, the dream didn't last long! Arty played 37 games for the Ducks before coming to Atlanta! I still remember his first game! He scored on his debut in Phillips Arena on a beautiful end-to-end goal.

Being a huge gritty player has gotten Arty into some trouble. On March 7, 2006, Arty was suspended for two games for an incident that occurred while he was fighting with Ottawa Senators' forward, Antoine Vermette. After hitting Vermette into the boards, he got into a shoving match with him. During the altercation, he ripped off Vermette's helmet and hit him with it. How are you going to beat a man with HIS OWN helmet??

On October 21, 2009, he was suspended for 3 games after slewfooting Dallas Stars' defenseman, Matt Niskanen. There was no call at the time, but the NHL made the decision after reviewing the play. Arty apologized and said it was unintentional.

Later that season, on January 19, he was suspended for another two games after a knee-on-knee hit to Florida Panther, Ville Peltonen.

One of my most memorable Artyukhin memories is actually of him when he was with Tampa Bay. In our last game of the 2008-09 season, Arty got into a brawl with Chris Thorburn and completely kicked his ass. I liked it better when he was on our team. Good luck in the future, Arty!


kerry July 24, 2010 at 8:33 PM  

i need him back, i need a puck signed by him. ( selfish reason but a reason none the less. )


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