As he begins the long road back from his shoulder surgery, Vladimir Tarasenko has had a chance to work on hockey basics with his two oldest sons. The main lesson?
“I try to coach them how to stay away from injuries,” Tarasenko said Tuesday. “You need to find positive ways from this situation. This is one of the positives. You can spend some time with the family, some extra time.”
Tarasenko knows injuries all too well. He was hurt on Oct. 24 against Los Angeles, requiring his second surgery on his left shoulder in the past two years. He also had an operation to clean up his knee after last season. The timetable for Tarasenko is to be back in April, though he’s hoping for better.
“I feel good,” he said. “Rehab kind of slow, but it’s what I can do at that point. Hopefully it can go faster than we predict and everything will be fine. … It’s already a couple weeks by, so all the emotions kind of calmed down. It’s already happened so I need to focus on the rehab and try to get stronger and get back.”
Tarasenko didn’t get into the specifics of his injury, other than to say it’s different from the one that came in the final game of the 2017-18 season and led to offseason surgery. And that’s one of the reasons, he said, he’s not worried about having two surgeries on the same shoulder.
“It’s a hockey game,” he said. “If you don’t want to get injuries, don’t play this sport. Sometimes it happens. There’s no point to think about it. You can think what you may be not do to stay away from this, but sometimes it’s just bad luck and just need to go through this one.
“I don’t really worry about how it happened. It’s already there. I just battle for a puck and it’s just bad luck.”
The Blues haven’t been around much since his injury, holding only a few practices, and with the team just back from a 10-day trip, he hasn’t had much time with the team.
“Of course there’s a frustration of not playing,” he said. “It’s hard to watch hockey games and everything. But you know, when the team is doing pretty well, guys are winning games, you can show it in the locker room. I’m pretty excited for the team and the way they are doing. ”
When Troy Brouwer returned to the Blues’ dressing room on Tuesday for his first practice with the team in his 10-day tryout, he found his old number, 36, waiting for him.
“(Equipment manager) Joel (Farnsworth) didn’t even ask if I wanted it,” Brouwer said. “He just gave it to me and I couldn’t be happier.”
Brouwer, who played with the Blues in 2015-16, is getting a look because he ran into GM Doug Armstrong when the Blues were in Calgary, where Brouwer lives, last week. Brouwer has been out of work since Florida cut him from a professional tryout offer in training camp. He’s been skating with a junior team in Calgary since then, hoping to get back in the league.
“This year, it really makes you think about how much you love the game,” Brouwer said. “That month and a half there, I was at home, still training hard trying to get back in it because you miss it and you love it so much. The atmosphere, I’ve only been in here for a morning and I don’t want to go already. It gives you that drive and that perspective. Careers are short and I’ve been really lucky to have a fairly long one, all things considered, but I don’t want it to be over.”
Brouwer felt he did well in camp in Florida but was squeezed out by the numbers there. He chose Florida because he played their last season and was familiar with the team. He’s hoping his familiarity with the Blues will help here.
“I feel like there’s a lot of people that are here that know the player that I am,” Brouwer said. “I won’t even say the player that I was, the player that I am. I didn’t have the greatest years in Calgary (where he went after leaving the Blues) but I still feel like I’m a phenomenal player and I had a good season last year and I’m just looking to prove that again right now.”