When it comes to professional sports, things are rarely what they seem. For St. Louis Blues fans, the news that
wants out came suddenly.
However, the reality is this may have been boiling for some time. As good as some of the reporters covering the team are, St. Louis is not a media hub, so it’s easier to keep things under wraps for longer.
We have no clue how long the discord between Tarasenko and the team has been brewing. As talented and lovable as he can be, he’s temperamental and has clashed with the coaching staff on other occasions.
Yet, there is something about this current situation that just does not make sense. So much discussion is going on in the online space, but little of it makes sense. Basically, any way you slice this problem, it makes little sense.
The only thing that does make sense is the initial report. We have no reason to distrust anything Jeremy Rutherford reports.
Unlike some media members in larger markets, he’s not trying to be sensational for the sake of clicks and throwing out baseless ideas. He’s merely reporting what he was told from a source.
I believe Rutherford. That doesn’t automatically mean we should believe Tarasenko will be traded. Likely, he will, but let’s look at this situation, discuss some of the topics seen on social media and how none of it makes sense.
There’s an odd back and forth with this. On the one hand, fans who are ready to show Tarasenko the door somehow feel incredulous that he would dare question the doctors who performed his surgeries.
One Facebook post went so far as to suggest medicine had reached it’s pinnacle and Washington University doctors were all but beyond reproach. Funny enough, one of the responses said they had surgery done with a doctor who was on the Blues medical staff at the time and they were still recovering from the botched procedure.
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These people are humans. I don’t believe a doctor goes into any procedure without the best intentions, but nobody is perfect 100% of the time. Pro athletes are a perfect example. We demand they be “on” all the time, but they’re a human with talents. Sometimes, those talents aren’t there the way they were the previous time.
However, the counter of that is with Tarasenko. If he did not feel comfortable with his treatment the first time, he should have made it more known then. Seek out another opinion or ask to have a different doctor do the surgery.
Don’t do whatever the team wants and then complain about it later. The patient needs to do what they feel is in their best interest.
He’s physically done
When you see social media posts where the poster proclaims Tarasenko is finished, you need to question their sanity. He’s 29 years old and still in the prime age range of his career.
Those that say he’s injury prone are only using a weak proclamation to steer their misguided argument. Prior to the shoulder injury, Tarasenko had missed 10 games combined the previous four seasons. 10 games out of 328 regular season games. Yet, few consider Jaden Schwartz injury prone despite him missing 10 games or more each of the last four seasons.
Those that say his production has been too inconsistent are kidding themselves and, again, looking to prove what they already believe. Before getting injured, Tarasenko had three goals in 10 games in 2019-20.
That would average out to about 25 goals, which is only slightly less than his normal and he’s always been streaky, which would likely push him past the 30 goal plateau. So, we’re basing the idea that he’s washed up on 24 games.
24 games after not playing for almost two years is enough to decide a 30-goal scorer is done? Sorry, but no.
Everyone assumed Jay Bouweester was finished and he simply had not properly healed from his hip surgery. He regained his form and skating ability when health and was the Blues best pure defender during the 2019 playoffs.
Don’t listen to fans that think players are done in general. Montreal fans thought Patrick Roy was finished in 1995. He went on to win two more Cups. Alex Ovechkin was done several years and he had no chance of winning a Cup and then he did. Wayne Gretzky was washed up and still scored almost 200 points in his last three seasons.
Robin Lehner had shoulder surgery and was considered one of the better goalies down the stretch for Vegas. Scott Perunovich had shoulder surgery, but I guess he better just give up on the NHL since he must be washed up too? Nonsense.
If Tarasenko is healthy, the Blues better not even consider trading him within the Western Conference. He will light them up.
He doesn’t play Blues hockey
Firstly, this notion of what Blues hockey is has become as disconcerting and unnerving as “The Cardinal Way”. Both are concepts invented within the last decade.
As a franchise, the Blues and Cardinals have expected certain amounts of effort from their players, much in line with a more blue-collar city. However, to think there is only one way to play and all must adhere to that or they are banished from the franchise is nonsense.
Brett Hull never played “Blues hockey” in terms of what we think of today. People will say, but he scored a lot of goals. Well, in today’s NHL, scoring 30 goals per season is about as good as it gets and Tarasenko scored 30 or more in five consecutive seasons. Maybe that gets him a pass? Not with Blues fans, apparently.
Additionally, this idea that he doesn’t play physically is made up. Tarasenko doesn’t go out looking for bone-crushing hits, but he plays the body.
In fact, Tarasenko has become a more physical player once Ken Hitchcock left. It’s funny because Hitch continually asked more from the player and the Blues finally got it when the coach was gone.
After the coaching switch, Tarasenko went from just over 30 hits per season to over 80. He had 30 hits in 24 games, when his shoulder would apparently never be the same.
Tarasenko had 28 hits during the team’s run to the conference final and then 50 hits in the Stanley Cup championship playoff run. While only credited with two hits against Colorado in 2021, Tarasenko was constantly mucking it up along the wall, which was even more noticeable because several of his teammates were not doing that.
There have been clashes and differences of opinion between player and coaches, no doubt. There has not been anything Tarasenko has been asked to do that he has not.