MOSCOW, August 26 (R-Sport) – Russian hockey forward Vladimir Tarasenko offered a restrained evaluation of his rookie NHL season with St. Louis Blues Monday, telling R-Sport the campaign was “good, but average.”
The 21-year-old was drafted 16th overall by the Blues in 2010 and split two seasons with Sibir Novosibirsk and SKA St. Petersburg before leaving the KHL for St. Louis.
In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he scored eight goals and 11 assists in 38 appearances, earning Rookie of the Month honors in January after leading all rookies with nine points. But Tarasenko missed 10 games after suffering concussion on February 20 and netted only two goals the rest of the season after returning to action on March 16.
Speaking in Sochi after Russia’s two-day Olympic national team orientation camp, Tarasenko said his numbers were partly a result of the injury and a questionable work ethic and attitude last season on the road to recovery. He vowed to improve.
“I’ll try to do better this season. My self-requirements have increased,” he said. “Because of my youth I didn’t really know how to condition myself and how to prioritize. Now I’ve got an understanding after talking to guys like [former New Jersey Devils star] Ilya Kovalchuk that you have to take care of yourself and prepare hard.”
Tarasenko played 31 games with SKA during the lockout – alongside Kovalchuk, who retired from the NHL to join SKA in July – registering 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points.
The 6-foot, 219-pound Tarasenko said he has ramped up his preseason workout routine in preparation for his first full NHL season. “The amount of work I do has changed; it’s become so much more,” he said.