(HockeyStL) — Vladimir Tarasenko took the first step in what is expected to be a long recovery process on Wednesday. Tarasenko underwent a successful surgical procedure on his right hand, the Blues confirmed Wednesday. He is expected to be re-evaluated in six weeks.
The procedure was performed by Dr. Charles Goldfarb in St. Louis, four days after the injury occurred and Tarasenko was ruled out for the rest of the regular season.
Tarasenko, 22, sustained the injury to his hand in Nashville on Saturday with 21 seconds left when he was unexpectedly checked by a Nashville player into the end boards. Tarasenko was slow to get up, but there was no indication by the Blues that night that he had sustained a serious injury. The next day the team announced that the forward would need surgery and would miss significant time.
Tarasenko’s exact injury still isn’t known. All that has been confirmed by the club is that it is indeed a problem with his right hand. Tarasenko was in attendance for the Blues’ game on Monday and was seen exiting the team’s locker room following their win with a smile on his face.
The early prognosis and expectation is that Tarasenko will miss at least six weeks with the injury. There is a chance that Tarasenko returns earlier, but the chance is slim. Assuming the Blues’ timetable is correct, at the very least, Tarasenko will miss the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs.
Tarasenko’s second season with the Blues included a trip to the Olympics to compete with the Russian team, surpassing the 100-game plateau for his career, and fulfilling a top-line role for a contending Blues team. His goal now is to have an impact in the playoffs.
If the Blues make it deep enough into the playoffs for Tarasenko to return to the club this season, the forward will have little time to get up to speed. However, because the injury is hand-related, Tarasenko should be able to skate shortly after his surgery. This will allow him to keep up his conditioning to some degree. Depending on how fast Tarasenko recovers, it will likely be several weeks before he picks up a stick, or even thinks about shooting a puck.
"The positive part for Tarasenko is he's going to come back as fast as he can and because it's a hand injury, he's going to come back in amazing shape," Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's going to be able to hit the ground running."
Tarasenko has 21 goals, 43 assists in 64 games with the Blues this season. He scored his 21st of the year the same night he sustained the hand injury. The young Russian forward had eight points in his last eight games, including two goals in his previous two games.
Hitchcock told reporters on Monday that Tarasenko was approaching the situation in a positive way, and that the young forward had no intention of missing the playoffs, despite what the early timetable listed as the expectations.
While Tarasenko is sidelined, Dmitrij Jaskin will be filling in. Jaskin was recalled from Chicago by the Blues on Sunday, after management learned the seriousness of Tarasenko’s injury. Jaskin has played in ten games with the Blues this season. He is expected to be a consistent player with Tarasenko out.