Tarasenko out for remainder of Western First Round for Blues

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Vladimir Tarasenko is returning to meet with St. Louis Blues team doctors for further evaluation of his surgically repaired left shoulder and will not play in the remainder of the Western Conference First Round against the Vancouver Canucks.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Tuesday that an update on the forward’s status will be available Aug. 24.

Tarasenko didn’t play in the past two games against the Canucks after playing in Games 1 and 2.

The Blues and Canucks are tied 2-2 in the best-of-7 series with Game 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the hub city in the West, on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, FS-MW).  

“It’s concerning, but we don’t know a lot yet, so I’m not going to jump to conclusions on anything,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “He’s not feeling right, so that’s why he’s going to get it looked at. … It is concerning but we’ve got to wait and see.”

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

He returned to the lineup in an exhibition game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Edmonton on July 29 but sat out the second of three round-robin games during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

Berube said he didn’t think Tarasenko was in any danger at the time.

“He was sore, and we just thought the rest would do him good,” Berube said. “It wasn’t a real big concern at the time, but we’ll have to see what he looks like after getting evaluated.”

Berube said he thought Tarasenko was hesitant in each of the four games he played in Edmonton. He had no points and was minus-1.

“But I understood why [he was hesitant],” Berube said. “Coming back from surgery and nine months off, I looked at these games that he played in the round robin as preseason games almost. It’s not easy being off that long, coming back and just jumping right into it and being full out. I knew that he’d come back and probably ease his way in a little bit. 

“That’s natural for any player that’s been off that long and to go through what he went through. For sure he wasn’t full out, but in saying that I didn’t think there was anything wrong. I just thought that was part of the process, taking these games, easing his way in a little bit.”

Berube said he thinks the high intensity of the games against the Canucks may have become problematic for Tarasenko’s surgically repaired shoulder.

“When it gets ramped up in a real game, things change, the intensity level goes way up, the banging and things like that,” Berube said. “That maybe had something to do with it, but really, I’m not sure exactly, nobody is. Even [Tarasenko] is not. We’ll see what shows up here and we can go from there.”

Berube left open the possibility of Tarasenko re-joining the Blues in Edmonton at some point.

“He’s going to get evaluated and we’ve got to see what’s going on and then we can go from there,” Berube said. “We’ll see what happens after the evaluation.”

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