Blue Jackets hand Fedor Tyutin a six-year, $27M extension

The Columbus Blue Jackets made some big investments during this summer, spending big money to sign offensive defenseman James Wisniewski and sending quite the package to Philadelphia for Jeff Carter. While the team will look different next season, GM Scott Howson decided that one key member from previous campaigns will stay in the fold for the rest of his prime years. The Blue Jackets handed defenseman Fedor Tyutin a six-year extension worth $27 million, which works out to a $4.5 million annual cap hit.

Aaron Portzline reports that Tyutin will have a no-trade clause for the first three seasons of the new deal and then a modified no-trade clause from 2015-16 to 17-18. Portzline reports that the extension’s salary breakdown will look like this:

2012-13: $4 million
13-14: $4.5M
14-15: $4.75M
15-16: $5M
16-17: $4.75M
17-18: $4M

(Note: he’s currently in the final season of a deal that registers a $2.84 million cap hit.)

Tyutin turned 28 in July, which means that he’ll be 29 when that six-year deal kicks in. The all-around defenseman was the Blue Jackets’ leader in time on ice in 2010-11, averaging 22:42 minutes per game. That actually represents a slight decrease in time compared to his other two campaigns in Columbus; he averaged 23:31 minutes per game in both 08-09 and 09-10.

Tyutin scored 34 points with a +1 rating in 08-09 and 32 points with a -7 rating in 09-10 before seeing more downgrades in his numbers last season (27 points with a -12 rating). That being said, his numbers could improve if the team’s offense takes off with the additions of Carter and Wisniewski.

The deal might seem shocking at first because Tyutin isn’t exactly a household name, but he does carry a big workload and is one the Blue Jackets best defensemen in all areas of the ice. My only beef is that he received such a big salary for such a long term – couldn’t Columbus get a little extra relief for giving him six years and the added comfort of a no-trade clause?

Either way, the Blue Jackets aren’t being shy about making bold moves during this off-season. Of course, that go-for-broke mentality might not seem as exciting if the team parts ways with Howson in the near future, but at least the team isn’t stuck in idle mode after some disappointing seasons. If nothing else, they’ll be fascinating to watch next season and Tyutin should be one of their most important players.

Ovechkin shrugs off Caps’ Game 1 loss in very Ovechkin way

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You know, it happens. Maybe not always in those exact words.

The Washington Capitals carried the play during portions of their 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even down 1-0 in the series, just about every player seemed happy with their overall game.

(Granted, Braden Holtby picked apart two of the three goals he allowed, and so on.)

Still, Alex Ovechkin shrugged off the disappointment in a way that wasn’t quite Rated R, but probably ranks in the PG-13 range:

The penalty element is interesting, though.

When asked after the loss about the lack of power plays, Matt Niskanen merely offered a “no comment.”

The Penguins experienced some sprawling moments, yet they avoided taking a penalty each time. Often, when a team carries long sequences of play, they’ll go on the PP (especially with home-ice advantage) … but not the Capitals in Game 1.

via Natural Stat Trick

It’s a situation to watch as the Capitals hope to even the series against the Penguins with Game 2 coming on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. (You can watch online, via the NBC Sports App and follow the livestream here).

Holtby takes blame for two big goals in Caps’ loss to Pens

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It’s just about a consensus that the Washington Capitals believed that they generally played a strong game despite falling 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Braden Holtby‘s teammates likely wouldn’t agree with his assessment that the Game 1 loss is on his shoulders, but the perennial Vezina candidate took the blame for Sidney Crosby‘s first goal of the night and Nick Bonino‘s game-winner.

Noting that the Penguins are a dangerous rush team – making them a different threat than the Toronto Maple Leafs – Holtby believes that he should have had his glove in position to stop the 1-0 goal. He said he’s capable of making such a stop and “will next time.” Check out Crosby’s two goals below, with Holtby having a beef with the first one:

It’s really difficult to place too much blame on Holtby for giving up Nick Bonino’s game-winner, as it seemed like a great rush play that few goalies would be able to stop.

Judge for yourself in the highlights:

The Penguins were ultimately able to take a 1-0 series lead, but the Capitals seem capable of shrugging off questions about frustrations, even with naysayers starting to gain confidence in claiming that there will be more than the same.

If Washington’s going to get over this big hurdle, Holtby is likely to be a big part in doing so.

Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.

(Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)

The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.

It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.

Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.

Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?

The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.

Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).

Karlsson makes difference for Senators vs. Lundqvist, Rangers

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Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.

That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.

Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.

Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you, stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.

Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.

Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.