ST. LOUIS -- No disrespect to anyone who has donned the Blue Note over the last, oh, 10 years. But this organization has been waiting for a super duper star for quite some time. The Blues have watched as the Jonathan Toews and Jonathan Quicks of the world have single handedly eliminated them from the postseason the last few years.
They need their own Toews. They need their own Sidney Crosby.
It looks like they may just have one. His name is Vladimir Tarasenko. Now, that’s quite a lot of pressure to put on a young man who’s hardly played much hockey in the NHL over the last couple years. But with great talent comes great expectations.
And when you play for a franchise that’s next Stanley Cup will be its first you’re bound to face some pressure.
The 22 year old from Russia was the Blues 1st round pick in 2010 and already has 36 career goals. He has seven so far this year in 11 games to go along with six assists. Anyone who watched what he did against the Rangers on Monday night knows full well just how ridiculous this kid can be.
Stars are what win in the National Hockey League. Some teams have them. Other teams don’t. The ones that don’t typically end up losing at some point during the postseason, as the Blues have the last few seasons.
When things aren’t going very well in a playoff game and the momentum seems to shift – particularly on the road – it’s the job of the superstar to make a play. It’s up to that star to change the entire complexion of the contest by making one simple great play.
It seems easy enough. But we all know it’s much more than that. If it was easy the Blues wouldn’t have blown back-to-back 2-0 series leads in the 1st round of the playoffs the last couple years.
And as good as David Backes, Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie and Alexander Steen are, let’s be blunt here. They’re no Vladimir Tarasenko. He’s the most talented player on the ice and it’s not even close. If someone on this roster is going to score 50 goals it’s going to be him.
I’m not saying he will do that – ever – but he’s the only one with the talent to make that kind of impact.
Riding a five game winning streak after starting the year 2-3-1 the Blues now have found that groove they’ve been waiting to find. October is gone. April will be here soon enough.
That’s when we’ll find out if Tarasenko can lead this team up against the best the NHL has to offer. And if he’s on par with guys like Jonathan Toews.