To some, Vladimir Tarasenko might just be the most exciting Russian sniper since Alex Ovechkin burst onto the scene. As the St. Louis Blues face the Washington Capitals tonight, fans get a chance to see them go head to head … and maybe admire each others’ work.
Ovechkin, for one, seems pretty impressed with Tarasenko’s torrid run, as he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“In Russia, if you’re playing well, all the newspapers, they start talking about players and the name,” Ovechkin said. “Right away, I tell him, ‘You’re going to be a great player.’ He’s going to have a great future.”
Tarasenko seems aware of some lofty comparisons, but he wants to blaze his own path.
“They tell me, ‘You can be like second Alex Ovechkin or second (Evgeni) Malkin or (Pavel) Datsyuk. They are good players, great guys, but you’re going to try to do your own,’” Tarasenko said. “If somebody look at you, they will say, ‘Yeah, this is Vladimir’ and not somebody else. That’s what they teach me when I was growing up. You need to work harder every day to fight for your last name. Not try to be somebody’s copy.”
Tarasenko notes that he didn’t grow up idolizing Ovechkin, naming his father as his “hockey idol.”
Even so, the 22-year-old admitted that he can’t wait for tonight’s game. Hockey fans should be pretty anxious to see this matchup, too.