Although Vladimir Tarasenko had committed to playing in the United States for the 2012-2013 season, those plans have been put on hold due to the lockout. Instead of playing for the Blues’ affiliate in Peoria, where he might develop some camaraderie and chemistry with future teammates, Tarasenko is heading back to Russia. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he has decided to play for SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) until the conclusion of the lockout.
Should this be a concern for Blues fans? After all, it was more than difficult to finally convince Tarasenko to come to St. Louis after being drafted in 2010. However, Blues’ management does not perceive the move as an issue, Doug Armstrong contended at a recent news conference:
“There’s the advantage of staying in North America: playing with some of the players that he might play with (the Blues), getting to understand the North American culture off the ice and also playing on the smaller ice (surface),” Armstrong said at the time. “But then going home, he’s developed over there, he’s become a very good player over there. I think it’s going to be a win-win, and whatever we jointly decide is best for him is the (way) we’ll go.”
To be sure, it is imperative for Tarasenko to continue playing in a competitive league, where he can further develop his offensive prowess. However, I would be wary of his propensity to return to Russia after arriving in St. Louis just two months ago. This is something to keep an eye on as the lockout progresses.