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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vladimir Tarasenko to play in KHL during lockout

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The city of St. Louis buzzed earlier in September when Russian hot shot prospect Vladimir Tarasenko finally arrived in the United States, ready to prepare with his new teammates for his first season in the NHL.

Unfortunately, the NHL season does not look like it is going to start on time thanks to a labor strike.  Since Gary Bettman and his owners can not come to an agreement with the NHL player's union, Tarasenko is looking for a place to play while he waits for the NHL lockout to end. 

Tarasenko could have chosen to play with the Peoria Rivermen for a paltry $65,000.  But instead, according to reports, Tarasenko will return to Russia and play in the KHL

While Tarasanko's move may seem odd to some, he is not the only Russian-born NHL player headed back home to log some ice time.  

In fact, some of the others joining Tarasenko in Russia are already huge NHL stars, including reigning NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and former NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.  Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings or two other high profile NHL stars now playing in the KHL.  

Tarasenko's decision to return to Russia is a not a bad one for the St. Louis Blues.  He will be back, eager and ready to prove himself in the NHL.  In the meantime, he gets to play in likely the second best professional hockey league in the World, likely improving on an already impressive set of skills that will translate anywhere.  

Tarasenko is not gone.   He will be back.  Hopefully Gary Bettman and company can make that happen sooner rather than later. 

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