Vladimir Tarasenko

Blues GM Armstrong wants Russian prospect Tarasenko in St. Louis

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When it comes to Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong has made one thing clear — he wants the kid in the NHL.

“We’d like him to come over because we think he can push for a roster spot on our team,” Armstrong told Blues beat reporter Lou Korac. “We think he has the pedigree, he has the experience now.

“We think he should come to the NHL. I hope he does come to the NHL.”

Tarasenko, taken 16th overall at the 2010 draft, is something of an enigma. Despite an outstanding regular season and playoff in the KHL, he was left off the Russian team at the World Hockey Championships — a decision that, depending on who you talk to, was either a conditioning issue (according to head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov) or a political one (Korac writes that Tarasenko was “putting on muscle to prepare for his next challenge, which is the NHL, and it didn’t sit too well with the national team.”)

Armstrong has no intention of bringing Tarasenko to North America and sticking him in AHL Peoria — if he does come over, he’ll be playing in the NHL. The Blues have an exciting young 25-and-under core (Patrick Berglund, TJ Oshie, David Perron, Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo) and want to add Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, the No. 14 pick at the 2010 draft, to the mix.

That said, Armstrong is preparing for the possibility of Tarasenko not coming over.

“If he doesn’t, he’s still [20] years old,” Armstrong said. “He’s got a great career ahead of him. But we hope he comes. We’ll see if he does.”

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)

Video: Dion Phaneuf’s assist is his first point with Senators

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Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.

Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.

You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.

Here’s his second assist for good measure:

Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.