Whilst reading Bernie Miklasz's Blues Bytes column from November 7th, I caught this tidbit in his column singing Vladimir Tarasenko's praises:
The Blues haven't had a total-package scorer like this since the shooting-and-smiling days of Brett Hull. Tarasenko is just what owner Tom Stillman needs: a player who can sell tickets and pack the Scottrade Center.
That's why it was so odd to read Jeremy Rutherford's piece on Tarasenko earlier today and discover that Blues' management is getting a little tight about the amount of attention going to Tarasenko.
In declining an interview request, the team refused to allow Hull, a Blues' executive, to discuss Tarasenko.
Bernie goes on to bring up a couple good points - one, why would the Blues limit a chance to sell tickets and two, too much press attention on Tarasenko may become an issue.
It's not about "classiness" on the Blues' part, as Miklasz tosses out. Tarasenko is still young and developing. He's humble and has humility in spades whenever he discusses his goalscoring output. Too much press attention can distract him, not from the humility, but from what he's doing on the ice. It's not going to "go to his head," but you also want to make sure that he's focused. I wouldn't consider that protecting Tarasenko exactly. I would consider it taking a step to encourage whatever mindset that he's in right now. It would be a shame if the Blues' primary source of offense gets rattled.
Putting the kibosh on the Hull interview is the part that I find most interesting. After repeated cuts between shots of Tarasenko and Hull during a FoxSports Midwest broadcast of the Anaheim Ducks game (I believe), I got the feeling that someone, somewhere, was building a narrative. The limitation of having Hull talk about Tarasenko may be to diminish that comparison (that Robb looked at so well a few days ago). Sure, it's fun to talk about how both of them can actually put the puck into the net, but comparing Tarasenko to the greatest pure goal scorer this team's ever had might be putting the cart before the horse a little bit. If you want to keep expectations reasonable, you don't compare Tarasenko to Hullie. You let him be his own player and evolve at his own rate. There's enough pressure there as it stands.