Friday, February 22, 2013

Tarasenko placed on IR

By Andrew Allsman| Posted: February 22, 2013| Contact  |

After leaving Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche with an apparent upper-body injury, forward Vladimir Tarasenko has been placed on injured reserve (IR) by the Blues. 

Tarasenko, 21, was handling the puck along the boards when he was checked by Colorado’s Mark Olver. The check hit Tarasenko high, and the young forward appeared to be dazed as he was helped to his feet and off of the ice by the Blues’ training staff. The play was not deemed an illegal hit, even after the league's Department of Player Safety reviewed the hit.

Of course, with any hit that connect with another player’s head, the fear is of a concussion. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said on Friday that Tarasenko has a severe cut, and is displaying some signs of a concussion.

“He’s got a severe facial laceration and some form of concussion," said Hitchcock. "He’s doing okay, but he’s obviously not a player in (Saturday’s game).”
“He has a headache today; he didn't have one Thursday. We will see how much better he gets in the next 48 hours.”

Andy McDonald, who has a long history with concussions, had plenty to say regarding the dangerous hits in hockey.

“I’d like to see the league get away from those types of hits," said McDonald. "The guys that are going in to make the hits, we have to get away from going in and making contact with the head. You can still have a physical game without (those types of hits).”

 Tarasenko is not a stranger to the dreaded injury. Earlier this season in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Tarasenko was sidelined for a few games with a minor concussion.

Concussions continue to be a problem in the NHL. The league continues to hand out fines and suspensions for illegal hits in an attempt to cut down on the severe hits. Hitchcock has seen a trend with young players being leveled by experienced NHLers, and he takes issue with it.

“It’s a bigger picture for me. There are a lot of young players in unsuspecting positions and they are getting hurt because experienced players know where they can catch them in vulnerable positions. That’s the part that bothers me.”

Tarasenko has appeared in all 17 games for the Blues this year. His 12 points (six goals, six assists) place him third among rookie scorers, and tied for fourth among his Blues teammates.

The 6-foot, 219-pound winger has cooled off since his explosive start, in which he had five points in two games.

The Blues drafted Tarasenko in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Tarasenko spent five seasons in Russia’s KHL before joining the Blues this past offseason.

The Blues are averaging nearly three goals a game, but lately the team has struggled to find the back of the net. In Wednesday’s game against the Avalanche, in which Tarasenko’s injury occurred, the team could not get one past the goalie. With Tarasenko being such a big part of the team’s offense this season, his injury could drastically set the Blues back offensively.

The Blues have also announced that they have recalled Chris Porter from the Peoria Rivermen with the news of Tarasenko heading to the IR.

“Porter is going to be a member of the team for the foreseeable future with Langenbrunner out too,” said Hitchcock

Ported played 47 games with the Blues last year, accumulating seven points (four goals, three assists) in that stint. Most of Porter’s time was spent on the Blues’ fourth line, in which Porter was very effective.

In his career, Porter has played in 98 NHL games, and has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) to his credit. He has 10 points in 12 games with the Rivermen this year.