Sunday, January 20, 2013
Tarasenko's instant impact
By Luke Lapinski
It appears Vladimir Tarasenko was worth the wait. After selecting the Russian phenom at No 16 overall in the 2010 draft, the St. Louis Blues had to put their plans for him on hold while he played in the KHL. But he's in the United States now and, by all accounts, looked impressive during the work stoppage.
As it turns out, he looks pretty good in NHL game action too. He scored just 6:36 into his debut last night, then added a power play goal as well. Meanwhile, the Blues eviscerated their rivals from Detroit 6-0. Ken Hitchcock turned the organization around in a big way last season, rescuing them from a slow start and taking them all the way to within two points of the Presidents' Trophy. The impressive effort came with a heavy reliance on strong goaltending though, as the Blues put up 2.51 goals per game -- No. 21 in the league. Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott and the defense will certainly be leaned on again in 2012-13, but more offense never hurts. And, if Tarasenko delivers the way many believe he can, he could be a game-changer up front. And last night's performance is Exhibit A.