Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/2/13
Fedor Tyutin is from a walled city in Russia where the AK-47 rifle was manufactured. Tim Erixon was born in New York but has spent most of his life in Sweden the son of an NHL player. Sergei Bobrovsky was born in Russia but closer to Mongolia than Moscow. It is these backgrounds — these cultural differences — that bring texture to NHL dressing rooms and Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said he thinks it can help bring players together. So earlier in the training camp he gave each Blue Jackets player an assignment: They had to prepare a biographical presentation to be delivered from the front of the dressing room on nongame days during the early part of the season. “I got the idea from (former Blue Jackets coach) Claude Noel when we coached together in Milwaukee (in the early 2000s)” Richards said. “I just think you have more compassion for people a greater understanding of who they are when you know where they’ve come from and what they’ve gone through.” Richards went first on Monday. Mark Letestu who played for Richards in minor-league Scranton from 2006-08 went yesterday and a picture of him with his wife and young son was still hanging on the wall after practice. Beginning today the Jackets will go from oldest player to youngest meaning Derek MacKenzie is on the clock. R.J. Umberger and Marian Gaborik will go early next week. “It’s funny to see how nervous guys get how apprehensive they are to talk about themselves” Letestu said. “You can be as creative as you want. You can do a PowerPoint you can put pictures up on the wall … whatever is the best way for guys to get to know you.” Players are scrambling for ideas calling home to have parents mail pictures or to bring them with them when they visit. “When (Richards) first brought it up I think we all laughed a little” center Ryan Johansen said. “But (Letestu) got us started today. It was really interesting. “His life story. How he made it how hard it was. He’s a proud guy and he’s earned everything he’s gotten the hard way. When you see a guy open up like that you feel like you know him more than what you see day to day around the rink.” Of course there’s room for the occasional barb. “We were worried about being able to go 15 minutes but Testy just went 30 with no problem” left wing Matt Calvert said. Said defenseman James Wisniewski: “Oh I’m gonna wear ’em out. I’m going into every last detail from the time I was 6.” Boll still out The only player missing from practice yesterday was right wing Jared Boll who skated on his own with strength and conditioning coach Kevin Collins. In order to play in Friday’s season opener against Calgary Boll would need one or two days of practice. Asked if he was planning to join the group today Boll out because of an undisclosed upper-body injury said: “I don’t know. It depends on how I feel (this) morning.”
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