The St. Louis Blues will be without their star winger for longer than expected. Tarasenko returned to St. Louis for further medical examination.
The St. Louis Blues have played four games against the Vancouver Canucks, two of which were without Vladimir Tarasenko. It is a good thing the Blues won those games, because they will be without their star scorer for even longer.
Tarasenko has left the Edmonton bubble and returned to St. Louis. He will be examined by the Blues’ medical staff for further evaluation on his surgically repaired shoulder.
It was originally unclear why Tarasenko was being held out of the playoff games. There were rumors that it was just a maintenance day.
That made sense if he only missed one game and returned, even though holding your best scorer out of a playoff game would still be curious. Once Tarasenko missed Game 4, it was clear something else was up.
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Of course, fans jump to odd conclusions. There was talk of Craig Berube being tired of Tarasenko loafing and just benching him.
That doesn’t seem to be Berube’s style, so it made no sense. The likeliest scenarios were some sort of lower body injury due to not playing in close to a year or something to do with the shoulder.
Unfortunately, it appears the shoulder is still the issue. The extent of it being an issue will be determined by the doctors.
The worry is that there has to be medical professionals in the bubble. If the Blues and Tarasenko felt the need to leave Edmonton, it has to be more than just a nagging issue that might pass in a few days.
Making it stranger was that the coaching staff claimed they had no signs that Tarasenko was laboring, other than soreness.
“It’s not easy being off that long, coming back and just jumping right into it and being full-out. I knew that he’d come back and probably ease his way in a little bit,” said Berube as reported by Dan Rosen.
“That’s natural for any player that’s been off that long and to go through what he went through. For sure he wasn’t full out, but in saying that, I didn’t think there was anything wrong. I just thought that was part of the process, taking these games, easing his way in a little bit.”
For right now, the Blues are hoping this is just a problem with scar tissue. Apparently a build up of scar tissue can feel like the shoulder has a tear again. Thus, the need for the team’s medical professionals to look at it.
Sadly, from a fan point of view, it is hard not to let the creeping fear of his career being in jeopardy seep in. If there is a legitimate problem with the same shoulder, or heaven forbid it needs another surgery, it is hard to imagine a comeback from that.
Knees and elbows are easier to fix because they are pure hinge joints. Shoulders are more like hips because they are a ball and socket joint.
Hip surgery used to be a death sentence for an athlete, but has become something doable due to the relative stability of the leg and pelvis. The shoulder can rotate in so many directions that any wrong motion with some force can mess it up.
As Blues fans, we should want the best for Tarasenko, both as an athlete and human. He has given a lot to this team and the city.
This nonsense of the Blues being better off since they’ve won a few games without him is just that – nonsense. They need Tarasenko for the long term, even if he cannot return this playoff run.
You don’t just replace a 40-goal scorer like that.
Cross your fingers that this is nothing and Tarasenko could potentially return in the second round, if the Blues advance. Time will tell, but it is definitely downer news.
The Blues will release further information on August 24. Even if Tarasenko can return, he would have to quarantine for four days.