Tarasenko could miss start of season for Blues after shoulder surgery

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Vladimir Tarasenko is expected to miss the start of next season after the St. Louis Blues forward has shoulder surgery next week.

The 28-year-old will be reevaluated in five months.

The start of the 2020-21 NHL season has yet to be determined but is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1.

“Obviously long season, long year, missing playing games, but it is what it is,” Tarasenko wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. “Last few months I felt like something [was] wrong, but still trying to play. Then we found out what it was when I got back home from the bubble. To take some speculation away, no, I’m not done, [my] career is not done. … I am more motivated than ever to finally get healthy and play. I hope and believe that the doctors will do their job, fix the problem and there is a solution for it.

“So [I] can’t wait to get it done and start working on coming back, playing hockey, scoring goals and enjoying the game again.”

Tarasenko had shoulder surgery Oct. 29 after being injured in a game against the Los Angeles Kings five days earlier. Prior to the injury, he scored 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games.

“He rehabbed, he came back, we had to do another MRI. He wasn’t feeling good,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. “That surgery didn’t take the way we had hoped. It wasn’t successful. He’s going to go back in and have more surgery next week, and it’s serious in the sense that he won’t be with us and he won’t be reevaluated for five months after the date of surgery.

“It’s the third surgery. We’re hoping he gets back to the level that he was at before. I’m not concerned about the work ethic and the approach he’s going to take to put himself in a great spot, but time is going to tell on how quickly and the impact he can have when he gets back.” 

After the first surgery, Tarasenko did not play again until an exhibition game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city, on July 29, but he sat out the second of three round-robin games during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

He played Games 1 and 2 for the Blues in the Western Conference First Round against the Vancouver Canucks but did not play the rest of the series, which defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis lost in six games. He had no points in four postseason games.

“Thank you for supporting the Blues and myself, especially with that injury,” Tarasenko wrote. “… We received so many positive, warm and nice messages. Your support helped me recover faster and feel better.”

Tarasenko also addressed negative messages he received, sent by a “different group of people, haters.”

“I hope no one will ever text things like this to you or to the one you love,” he wrote. “Instead of this, just wish me a good recovery.”

Tarasenko has scored 428 points (214 goals, 214 assists) in 507 NHL games through eight seasons, including five straight seasons with at least 33 goals from 2014-19, and 49 points (33 goals, 16 assists) in 74 playoff games. He scored 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in 26 playoff games to help the Blues win their first Stanley Cup championship last season.

“I think he can have the same impact as before,” Armstrong said, “but it’s really irrelevant what I think or what I feel. It’s going to be how he does when he gets back.”

Tweet from @lkorac10: Vladimir Tarasenko posted this message on his Instagram … #stlblues pic.twitter.com/SsFKyTOTcd

NHL.com independent correspondent Louie Korac contributed to this report

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