Sending Ryan Reaves to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the NHL draft for Oskar Sundqvist and the 31st overall pick in the 2017 draft. The Blues were considered the winners of that deal, since they spun that 31st overall pick into Klim Kostin, a highly talented Russian winger.
The Penguins? Well, they got someone to protect Sidney Crosby. Ryan Reaves has spent his occasional stints in the press box as the Penguins charged their way up the Metropolitan Division after starting the season on shaky ground, but he’s been a strong contributor for them, scoring a goal in the Penguins rout of the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.
Tomorrow morning is the first time that Reaves has returned to St. Louis since the deal.
Unfortunately, we won’t get our traditional Reaves-Tarasenko pre-game ritual tomorrow, but rest easy, that bond is still there. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Reaves looks back fondly on his buddy in St. Louis.
Every day, Reaves said, they pick a certain word for Tarasenko to learn.
“He’d hear a word that he didn’t know what it was,” Reaves said. “I’d explain it to him. We’d use it in a sentence. I tried to teach him some English and help him along.”
Many of the words came from former coach Ken Hitchcock’s team meetings.
“He’d come out of the meeting and say, ‘What does this mean?’ Then I’d explain,” Reaves said. “Just random things that would come up. Sometimes about his skate. Like, he didn’t know what a rivet was. He’d also teach me a couple Russian words.”
Coming out of one of Hitchcock’s meetings, I could imagine Reaves had to teach Tarasenko a few other words too.
“It’s going to be fun,” Reaves said. “It’s the only place I ever played in my career until this year, so it’s going to be special. Hopefully I don’t get booed too hard, although I hope at some point they have to boo me.”
Boo Ryan Reaves? I’m sure it’ll have to wait until after the tribute video.