On Tuesday Vladimir Tarasenko skated for the first time with his new teammates at the Blues Ice Zone in Hazelwood, Missouri. A huge crowd was there to applaud his first practice with the St. Louis Blues and many of them were wearing Tarasenko jerseys from his Russian team. It has been a long time since the fans in St. Louis have been as excited about a rookie player. The hype for Tarasenko has exceed that of the number one overall pick Erik Johnson and fan favorite T.J. Oshie when they were rookies. The excitement is also there because the team is a contender this year and Tarasenko could be the missing piece to the puzzle.
The first impressions of Tarasenko were positive but the summer practice was fairly laid back. Blues center Andy Mcdonald described Tarasenko as being both big and fast, a very good combo to have in the NHL. Ian Cole added that he seems to be able to score from almost anywhere on the ice. One thing Tarasenko will have to get used to is the smaller rink that creates a faster and more physical game. Tarasenko will not interact with the media until Thursday and his English is supposedly not that good. Andy Mcdonald remarked, “He’ll be learning English and I’ll be learning Russian. It should be fun ride watching Tarasenko develop into a premiere North American hockey player.Hopefully we get to see Tarasenko play in some games this year and not just skate at a summer practice, but that remains to be seen.