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IIHF Worlds: Anisimov, Tyutin lone Jackets in tourney

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

One of the most common questions on exit day at Nationwide Arena was whether Blue Jackets players were headed to the IIHF World Hockey Championships in Stockholm and Helsinki - and one of the most common answers was "no."

Several of those players invited or under consideration from their national teams (Cam Atkinson, Jack Johnson for Team USA among them) declined to participate in this year's tournament for the purpose of getting healthy after injuries piled up down the stretch of an intense playoff run. But two Blue Jackets - Artem Anisimov and Fedor Tyutin - accepted invites from their native Russia and are taking part in the tournament.

They are the only Blue Jackets in this year's tournament after a handful were involved a year ago, namely Johnson - who served as captain for the United States on a squad that also included Atkinson after his rookie NHL season.

Marian Gaborik, acquired by Columbus at the NHL trading deadline in a blockbuster deal, had committed to play for Slovakia at the World Championships but experienced abdominal discomfort near the end of the season.

Gaborik visited a specialist in Philadelphia last week and it was determined that surgery was the best option, taking him out of the Worlds with a 3-4 week recovery period.

“Marian experienced some soreness towards the end of the season and after undergoing his exit physical and further examination today, it was decided that surgery is the best option for a quick and full recovery,” John Davidson said in a statement issued by the club. “Marian will have the surgery and after a three to four week recovery period will be able to resume off-season training.”

Sergei Bobrovsky was reportedly invited to be the third Blue Jackets player on Team Russia, but declined the offer after Ilya Bryzgalov was promised the No. 1 goaltender's job. Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche took his place as the backup goalie for the tournament.

Why Russia would want a potential Vezina Trophy winner as its backup netminder in an international tournament is a completely different story, but let's continue.

The story early on in this World Championships has been upstart Switzerland earning back-to-back preliminary round victories over Sweden and Canada to get things started. Meanwhile, the Russians have opened strong as well, posting two wins in two games over Latvia and Germany to begin their tournament.

Anisimov and Tyutin haven't yet recorded points for Russia, but Tyutin has logged some big minutes on the blue line and Anisimov is taking a lot of face-offs for coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's club.

Russia's next date on the tournament schedule is against the United States on Tuesday afternoon (1:15 p.m. ET face-off), a game that will be aired on the NBC Sports Network.

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