The Blues are about to embark on a six-game road trip and could be getting some help while they’re away.
Vladimir Tarasenko could return at some point during their time in Calfornia playing the Sharks, Ducks and Kings over the next 10 days. Blues head coach Craig Berube said there’s a “chance” the winger plays during the trip, which could not come at a better time.
Over their last five games, the Blues have dropped four of them, including three in a row. After a four-game win streak earlier in February, St. Louis has won just three times in 10 games while averaging just 2.4 goals per game. The lineup has been ravaged by injury with Colton Parayko, Robert Thomas, Ivan Barbashev, Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Bozak, and Carl Gunnarsson joining Tarasenko in missing time.
Tarasenko has not played since the summer when he suited up four times for the Blues during their Stanley Cup playoff series against the Canucks. A lingering shoulder issue, which was originally operated on in October 2019, needed another surgery in August.
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He was on the ice Friday skating on a line with Brayden Schenn and David Perron. “I want him to go with a line and see how he looks and get some reps there,” Berube said. “He’s itching and ready to go, too. It’s been awhile for him, and a long road.”
There are a few hurdles before Tarasenko is back playing in games. First, the medical staff needs to give the green light. Once that happens then it’s on the player to decide if he’s confident for full-time action again. The sooner the better for the Blues.
“To be honest, he just needs to go out, work hard and compete and give us that. His skill and things will take over,” Berube said. “He just needs to focus on how hard he’s working and how hard he’s competing out there. I can’t give you expectations. I hope he comes back, gets hot right away and scores goals for us.”
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.