If the Los Angeles Kings weren’t a little concerned about tonight’s game, well, maybe they should be. Vladimir Tarasenko has been officially removed from IR and will be skating in tonight’s game. He hasn’t played a regular season game since October of 2019, also against the Kings, when he injured his shoulder. He played only a couple of games against the Canucks in the playoff bubble before being shut down and sent home for surgery.
To say the Blues and Tarasenko are excited is an understatement:
“I think as an organization and as a team, we’re ready for him to come back,” Brayden Schenn said. “We know what he can bring to our lineup, he can really put us to that next level… He’s able to change a game with a flick of the wrist. He has one of the best shots in the game, and we’re looking forward to having him back. We know it’s going to take time (to get up to speed), he hasn’t played a whole lot hockey in the past year... At the same time, he’s an elite talent and I don’t think it will take him too long to find his game.”
Tarasenko won’t be easing himself back into the fold. Doug Armstrong fully expects him to be an 18-21 minute player right off of the bat, while working up toward being the elite talent that Blues fans are used to seeing.
This was his third shoulder surgery, so there is a little bit of trepidation, but that’s more than balanced out by the excitement of the Blues being one step closer to a full roster, at least up front. On defense, the news isn’t quite as good. Colton Parayko joins the injured reserve tonight.
Parayko hasn’t played for eight games, and there has been much speculation over whether he should’ve been playing the games before he became listed as day to day. According to Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic (subscription required), Parayko was playing through a back injury before he was finally benched. The Blues still haven’t commented on his injury, calling it an “upper body injury” in today’s release about his placement on the IR.
Parayko being placed on the IR frees up some space for Tarasenko’s salary.