Blues fans were looking forward to the return on Vladimir Tarasenko since he left the lineup in October. His shoulder injury, and then shoulder surgery, was a focal point for discussion. “Just wait for Tarasenko to get back when the playoffs start! He’s had extra time to heal!”
After several games where his presence on the ice was negligible, fans started to have a sneaking suspicion that he wasn’t 100% yet, that he was holding back play. He sat out Sunday’s game against the Canucks, and again, he sat out Monday’s win. He was deemed “unfit to play.”
Turns out that why he was unfit to play was because his shoulder is, as many suspected, still out of whack. Tarasenko is leaving the playoff bubble to return to St. Louis for re-evaluation.
“He obviously wasn’t comfortable with the way it felt. We’ve got to get it looked at,” Blues Head Coach Craig Berube said. “It’s concerning. We don’t know a lot yet, so I’m not going to jump to conclusions on anything. He’s not feeling right, so that’s why he’s going to get it looked at. I don’t know what to tell you, to be honest. It’s concerning, but we’ve got to wait and see.”
“When you get something done like that and you’re out nine months, you’re going to have some issues when you come back, no matter what, right? But he felt good, he was ready to go,” Berube said. “When it gets ramped up in a real game, things change. The intensity level goes way up, the banging and things like that. I’m sure maybe that had something to do with it. I’m not sure, nobody is, even Vladi’s not. We’ll see what shows up here and we can go from there.”
The Blues will release more information on Tarasenko’s evaluation on Monday. There is a quarantine period when players leave and return to the bubble, and also pending testing, so it’s safe to say that Tarasenko will be out for the remainder of the series against the Canucks.