A fan's appreciation of Vladimir Tarasenko

Good Vladdy! - Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon, avid members of St. Louis Game Time. My name is Joe Schwarz, and I am one of the editors over at Viva El Birdos, the best Cardinals site on the web in my very biased opinion. I have been with VEB for basically one calendar year now, and I have written 159 posts, composed countless tweets, and manufactured thousands of Facebook posts. If you have read any of my content, then you are well aware that when it comes to baseball, I am considerably intrigued by advanced statistics as well as PITCHF/x data. Keeping up with minor league prospects (via Q&A's) and researching new additions to the club are two of my favorite topics to write about as well.

Well, as a native St. Louisan born in October of 1990, I have always been a pretty big fan of the Blues as well. I own a late 1990s retro Brett Hull jersey that I proudly wear around St. Louis, but especially around Indianapolis where I am finishing up my studies to become a pharmacist. Yet, it is safe to say that I am definitely part of a baseball family, as my dad played through college and I played through high school. At the same time, however, hockey, especially during the MLB offseason, finds itself on the TVs of the Schwarz residence quite regularly, including last night's thrilling 5-2 victory over the despised, but slumping Los Angeles Kings.

After watching Vladimir Tarasenko do incredible things relatively effortlessly last night (and all season really), I felt it was time for me to finally make an appearance in GT's Fanposts section (FWIW, I've read many articles while commenting on only a few). As I stated in my opening/introduction, I enjoy statistics, and I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on them as well—in baseball at least. However, I have a whole lot to learn when it comes to hockey statistics, so I will do my best to limit the use of them here.

Instead, I wanted to have a platform to voice (err...write) my appreciation for the great Vladimir Tarasenko, who, in my memory at least, is the best attacking Blues player I have ever watched. Sure, the Blues had Brett Hull during my lifetime, but that was far before I was able to efficiently create long-term memories.

In the time since this goal, I have re-watched it at least a few thousand times (not even exaggerating). The fact that he was able to maneuver through three players and subsequently drop the puck past the goalie (not Lundqvist unfortunately) with one hand on his weak side, all-the-while having a defender draped all over his side and back, blows my mind completely. Watching it live on FSM in Indianapolis, it instantly reminded me of the numerous highlight videos we saw of his time in Russia before arriving to the NHL.

For all the stick-handling skills Tarasenko possesses, my favorite part of his game still has to be his wrist shot. The heaviness of his shot is oh so eerily similar to that of a Lance Lynn fourseam fastball. Shots such as his second goal from last night appear nothing more than a potential shot on goal off his stick, and next thing we know, it's in the back of the net. It truly is a thing of pure-bred beauty.

Finally, all I know is that being the first player in Blues history to record two hat tricks in the same season since Brett Hull in 1996-1997 is no small feat, even if one of the goals was a mere empty-netter. I truly believe that "we are all witnesses" (sorry, semi-unintentional LeBron reference) to something truly special, and I am very fortunate to be along for the ride.

Thank you for reading and have a very happy holidays!

Go Blues!

For mainly Cardinals-related, but also a decent array of other-sports-related, tweets, follow me on Twitter: @stlCupofJoe

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