St. Louis Blues fans are holding their collective breaths at this moment. While likely just precautionary, we now have to worry about a potential injury to the team’s best player.
Those that are old enough to remember or are fans of the franchise will be reminded of Samuel Jackson’s words in Jurassic Park – “Hold on to your butts…”. The St. Louis Blues best player, Vladimir Tarasenko, is now on injury watch.
The Russian forward left practice early on Monday. Head coach Mike Yeo seemed to avoid labeling it as simply precautionary, but he also did not seem to convey too much worry.
The sad part of it, as fans, is we don’t know when to believe them. We have been bitten by the precautionary bug too many times in the past.
In recent memory, it seems like Blues history is littered with tales of players that were just being held out. We would find out later that the situation was much more dire than originally labeled.
The problem with the idea of Tarasenko being injured is that the Blues are holding on for life right now. Sure, they have a good gap at the top of the Central Division, but you don’t want to let your opponents smell blood in the water.
The Blues have made the most of the lineup they have, missing almost half their planned forwards to start 2017-18. While there has still been plenty the team could be doing better, you have to admire the next-man-up mentality they have shown.
You lose Tarasenko for any length of time, that might be a bit too much for this team to chew. That’s not to say they could not win a game or two, if that is all he would miss. However, you just wonder how much more you take out of the tank this early in the season when you are asking guys to play almost perfectly to overcome these injuries.
To their credit, the Blues have had a team-first mentality. If the goaltender struggles, the defense blocks more shots. If the defense is leaky, the goaltending will make that big save. When the back end is weak, the front side steps up and scores more goals.
You lose a player the caliber of Tarasenko and that’s a big void to fill. Nobody on this roster is capable of doing it.
It’s all well and good to have guys willing to step up and perform. You can’t just snap your fingers and replace a guy that is capable of scoring 40-50 goals though.
As hot as Jaden Schwartz has been, the pressure mounts on him if there is an actual injury. Suddenly he’s a marked man instead of being the secondary scorer defenses look to key on.
It’s not that none of those guys are incapbable of doing it. It is just extra pressure on a team that has being clicking so well with things as they were but riding that razor of depth as well.
As always, we should stay calm until the full information is revealed. The likelihood is that Tarasenko will be fine and Yeo was being truthful in saying it was just soreness.
Missing a game would even be palatable if it meant full health for the Blues’ star. The doomsday scenario is not far from view though. It would be hard to imagine the Blues sustaining their great run of form if they are suddenly missing a player of that caliber.