News 3 days ago

BRIEF: Puck-rakers: Earning power-play time caps memorable week for rookie leader of NutivaArmy

The Columbus Dispatch — Tom Reed The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Feb. 17--Markus Nutivaara ranks among the Blue Jackets most anonymous players, but you wouldn't know it judging from the past seven days.

A roving Finnish television crew, which is traveling the NHL, dropped into town last weekend to interview the rookie defenseman.

Nutivaara jerseys seem to be everywhere in the Arena District courtesy of friends from home who are spending two weeks in Columbus. Clad in sunglasses and blue beach hats, the quintet has earned Twitter-issued sobriquets ranging from The Nutivaara Five to The Nutivaari to The NutivaArmy.

But nowhere has the 22-year-old been more noticeable to hockey fans than on the power play. Searching for answers to its recent funk, the Blue Jackets have allowed Nutivaara to quarterback the second unit. Although he's yet to register a point in three games, the initial reviews are encouraging.

They like his decision making, passing and the ability to get a deceivingly good wrister though the first layer shot blockers. Nutivaara earned 1:40 of power-play time against the New York Rangers in a 3-2 loss and another 1:11 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-2 win.


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