The real hockey season has not even begun for the St. Louis Blues and it’s already go time for Vladimir Tarasenko.
There is still at a couple weeks before the full St. Louis Blues squad will be together for practice. We haven’t even begun the actual World Cup of Hockey. Vladimir Tarasenko doesn’t care.
Tarasenko is only two games into the exhibition season with Team Russia and he’s already on point. In reality, we should expect no less, but it’s still pleasing to see.
The Blues’ leading scorer in 2015-16 had a rough playoff year towards the end. Despite having nine goals and 15 points in 20 games, he disappeared for much of the Western Conference Finals.
Though it was his first long run in the postseason and the most games he had ever played with the Blues in one season, we were all up in arms. Even the most defensive fan was getting upset with his lack of production at the crucial times.
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So, fans were a bit apprehensive coming into this new hockey season as to what Tarasenko would we see. Would we get the free flowing, snipe-master or would we get the more worn down, frustrated player seen against the Sharks.
We have our answer – at least for the moment. Tarasenko looks renewed and out to prove a point early in his progression toward the NHL season.
He had a rip of a wrist shot to score against the Czechs in their opening exhibition game. It was the kind of goal Blues fans have become accustomed to.
Tarasenko was left, relatively unchecked near the circle. He just shrugged, took what was given and ripped it over the goaltender’s shoulder.
Not to be outdone, Tarasenko scored again in the next game. It won’t go down in the stat sheet officially, since it was in the shootout, but it was still a slick goal.
As you can see, patience was the key on the score. Tarasenko just outwaited the goaltender and when he realized the goaltender would not bite, he just flipped it over the stick and in the five-hole.
As mentioned in our previous article about the World Cup exhibitions, you take all these results with a grain of salt. You can’t get too invested because they are practice games and some teams are still feeling out their rosters.
Still, when your main man looks to be in mid-season form in September, it’s hard not to be excited. He’s showing the skill and patience that some guys don’t find until November.
Does this mean Tarasenko is going to make the jump to 50 goals? Is he going to lead the league?
No on the last question and time will tell on the first. However, when you can get a skill player shot out of the canon to begin a season, you’re in for good things.
Injury is still a concern in these games, even in the World Cup. If the Blues get out of it all healthy and with their top guy on fire, then look out.