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|20 сентября 2013 года.|
Tarasenko going back to Russia during lockout; Coveted forward heads to lucrative KHL as the NHL slashes exhibition schedule // St. Louis Post - Dispatch
Blues prospect Vladimir Tarasenko has made up his mind: He's returning to Russia to play hockey during the NHL lockout.
Tarasenko, 20, has shown a high level of commitment to starting his career in North America with the Blues in 2012-13. But with the start of the season in limbo following last week's expiration of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, Tarasenko has opted to play in the Kontinental Hockey League until the lockout concludes.
An announcment on Tarasenko joining SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL could be made as soon as today, according to a source.
Tarasenko arrived in St. Louis earlier this month and was introduced to Blues fans Sept. 6. He confirmed that the NHL is where he wished to continue his career after four seasons in the KHL, where he posted 52 goals and 100 points in 176 games in four seasons.
"I am ready to play in the best league in the world," Tarasenko said through an interpreter.
But with a lockout looming, Tarasenko, who was selected No. 16 overall in the 2010 NHL draft, would have the option of playing with the Blues' American Hockey League affiliate in Peoria, Ill., or returning to the KHL.
"I am going to speak to (Blues general manager) Doug Armstrong about that ... and we will make the decision that would be the best for me," Tarasenko said at the time.
At the news conference, Armstrong said that there were benefits to both options.
"There's the advantage of staying in North America: playing with some of the players that he might play with (the Blues), getting to understand the North American culture off the ice and also playing on the smaller ice (surface)," Armstrong said at the time. "But then going home, he's developed over there, he's become a very good player over there. I think it's going to be a win-win, and whatever we jointly decide is best for him is the (way) we'll go."
One glaring factor in the decision is the financial terms of playing in the KHL versus Peoria. With SKA St. Petersburg, Tarasenko is expected to make the pro-rated amount of a multi-million contract, whereas with the Rivermen he would have been paid approximately $65,000.
"Peoria is always an option, but I am not sure the American League is as good as the KHL from that standpoint," Tarasenko's agent, Mike Liut, the former Blues goalie, said earlier this month. "And now you're really asking him to give up a lot of money."
Also on Wednesday, the NHL announced the cancellation of all exhibition games scheduled through Sept. 30. That affects five Blues preseason games, leaving the club with three: Oct. 2 vs. Nashville, Oct. 3 at Dallas and Oct. 6 vs. Dallas.