Aug 21, 2013, 10:55 AM EST
When Vladimir Tarasenko arrived on the scene last year from Russia, he came in with a lot of mystery.
A lot of familiar questions were raised: Would he adapt well to the North American game? Would he struggle with in a defensive system like the Blues have? Go ahead and insert any tired cliché about Russians.
It wasn’t all fun and games, however. His production slowed down and then he suffered a concussion in mid-February that kept him out of action for a month. After that, his production slowed even more and his minutes were cut down. As it was, Tarasenko played in just one game in the playoffs.
As Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes, Ken Hitchcock thinks he could be in for a big season because he’ll be more comfortable this time around.
”He’s not going to be surprised by anything, he’s going to be way more ready, so I think our hope is that you see a player more comfortable, more composed, more assured of himself and I think this year we’ll get a really good evaluation. In talking to him, he’s about as far away as you can get from sophomore jinx. He’s hungry, he’s focused. Now you get to see his natural ability on a daily basis.”
The Blues will need him to be all that and then some. Hitchcock notes they were comfortable dealing David Perron because they wanted to make room, and get more minutes, for Tarasenko.
The team is doing what it can to help him break out and if he can do it, he can give them something they’ve lacked over the years: A bonafide gamebreaking scorer. If he can’t take that step, however, the Blues will have to hope their grinding style can lead them to the promised land.
- Video: Ovechkin becomes sixth fastest player to 400 goals in Caps win 14
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 16
- Assault charges against Varlamov dropped 35
- Carlyle on HBO presence: ‘It’s not normal what we’re living right now’ 7
- Orpik: First days after Thornton attack were ‘miserable’ 70
- Video: Dustin Brown ejected for kneeing, Tomas Hertl won’t return (update) 66
- No supplemental discipline for Caps’ Wilson 33
- Habs healthy scratch Briere for first time this season 7
- Chiarelli says he’s not trading Marchand 21
- Schenn to play tonight; Oates maintains Wilson hit was ‘totally clean’ 54
- Updated: NHL suspends Thornton 15 games for Orpik attack (155)
- Reports: Thornton will appeal 15-game suspension (107)
- Lucic addresses fight video, says he’s ‘disgusted and outraged’ by Vancouver (104)
- Cam Neely questions length of Thornton’s suspension (78)
- Video: Penguins defeat Leafs, Bortuzzo called for illegal hit to head (71)