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|20 января 2013 года. |
Tarasenko has great start with Blues // St. Louis Post-Dispatch
O'Neill, DanView Profile.
Jan. 20--There are a lot of people trying to control their emotions when it comes to Vladimir Tarasenko.
They are cognizant of the attention he has received. They are mindful it could take the 21-year-old time to get acclimated to a smaller NHL rink and a larger NHL culture. Food for thought, to be sure.
But if first impressions mean anything, this Tarasenko kid has a chance.
"One thing you don't see in practice is how bad a guy wants to score goals," said Blues teammate T.J. Oshie. "And you see the way he plays, the way he moves without the puck, and he wants to put the puck in the back of the net every shift. He wants to score, you can tell. It's going to be exciting to watch him."
The excitement didn't take long. Less than seven minutes into his first NHL game, and with his first NHL shot, Tarasenko put the puck in the net and suggested his transition might go quite well, thank you.
Taking a pass from defenseman Ian Cole, Tarasenko got behind the Detroit defense and broke in alone on netminder Jimmy Howard. With a dip of the shoulder here, a lift of the skate there, No. 91 did a Baryshnikov on Howard and scored. No jitters, no adjustments, nothing but net.
"It was like dreaming," Tarasenko said.
The sellout crowd that gave Tarasenko a thunderous welcome during pre-game introductions went bonkers. What was once a lockout became a love-in.
"It was exciting," Tarasenko said. "I was a little nervous before the game, but now I'm happy to be here. I want to thank my teammates, they really helped me."
The Blues had two No. 1 picks in 2010, using the first to take Colorado College standout Jaden Schwartz with the 14th overall selection. Two picks later, they took a chance Tarasenko might come to North America and play in the NHL. It took a while.
The son of Russian hockey star Andrei Tarasenko, Vladimir Tarasenko was 18 years old at the time and his famous father was the head coach of Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL. That's where Vladimir started his professional career.
The younger Tarasenko continued to play and mature in the KHL, and continued to fan the flames of anticipation for Blues fans. Playing among former NHL players and established Europeans, Tarasenko had 23 goals and 47 points in 54 games in the KHL last season. During the recent lockout, after he left St. Louis and returned to Russia, he had 14 goals and 31 points in just 31 games.
The numbers notwithstanding, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has tried to keep the lid on, preaching patience, emphasizing the differences in the KHL style of play and the bigger KHL playing surface. "It's an entirely different game over there," Hitchcock said.
So maybe there was no reason to go crazy because the talented newcomer scored on his first shot. Unless, that is, scoring on his second shot would be cause for celebration.
Less than a minute into the second period, Tarasenko struck again. Taking an entry pass from Kevin Shattenkirk, the lefthanded shooting winger skipped around defenseman Kyle Quincey and lifted a shot over the lunging Howard to give the Blues a 3-0 lead. Two shots, two goals.
"He's a finisher, he's a really good player," Hitchcock said afterward. "But the thing that impresses me most about him is he's a really good kid. He wants to learn, he wants to be part of a team, wants to be part of a line. He's just a really good kid."
After joining the Blues late last season, Schwartz also scored goals on his first two NHL shots, although they came over two games. Tarasenko also became the first Blues rookie to score two goals in his NHL debut in almost 40 years. The previous player to do so was Doug Palazzari in 1974.