Is there a rift forming between Vladimir Tarasenko and Ken Hitchcock?

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Is there some heat between St. Louis Blues superstar Vladimir Tarasenko and hard-nosed head coach Ken Hitchcock?

Some are floating that thought, especially following what looked like a tense exchange (see video above) during Game 6.

Hitchcock is the sort of “gruff” coach who, the story goes, doesn’t always get along with certain players.

One can debate things back and forth and over-analyze various interactions between the two, but it seems clear that a huge chunk of Hockey Twitter believes that Tarasenko isn’t being used properly.

Simply put, plenty of smart people think that he isn’t getting the sort of ice time that befits a sniper who’s really cemented himself among the elite during this regular season and an impressive first round.

Here are some stunned reactions:

There were plenty of less polished responses that expressed similar thoughts in pretty amusing ways:

(ALL CAPS OFTEN GET A LAUGH.)

It may be an exaggeration to imply that there is any bad blood between Hitchcock and Tarasenko, even if the latter might be a little peeved that he isn’t getting more opportunities to influence games. (Tarasenko’s been brilliant, after all.)

Even so, this could be the sort of strategic decision that draws some serious criticism if the Blues bow out in Game 7.