HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues had gone virtually unscathed on the injury front until the past couple weeks.
First came news of veteran Jamie Langenbrunner being done for the season following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. The latest to go down is rookie right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, who was placed on injured reserve with a concussion and facial laceration.
Tarasenko took a hard check from Colorado's Mark Olver in the third period of Wednesday's 1-0 overtime loss to the Avalanche. He was helped off the ice and did not return. Tarasenko was taken to a Denver-area hospital, but flew home with the team that night.
The Blues practiced Friday afternoon, but Tarasenko was not with the team. After placing Tarasenko on IR, the team recalled forward Chris Porter from the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League.
"He's got a pretty severe facial laceration, some form of concussion, where we really don't know yet … obviously the severity of it," Hitchcock said. "He's definitely not a player tomorrow [Saturday against Columbus], and then with all the time off, we'll be able to read it. He's doing OK, but obviously he's not a player for tomorrow. Like everybody else, read it day by day and see how he feels.
"He has a headache today. He didn't have one yesterday, but he does have a headache today and we’ll see in the next 48 hours how much better he gets."
Tarasenko, 21, has six goals and 12 points for the Blues in his first NHL season. After a torrid start where he collected 10 points in the team's first eight games, the 2010 first-round pick had two points in the past nine games.
It's the second concussion Tarasenko has dealt with this season; he missed one game playing in the Kontinental Hockey League during the lockout.
Hitchcock was given an explanation of the hit from the officials on the ice and obviously didn't agree with the fact no penalty was called.
"I feel like it's a blow to the head, so I don't care how it is," Hitchcock said. "It's a blow to the head. I don't care how it got there, whether it was a legit hockey play … it happens fast. It was a blow to the head. That was my concern."
The Blues were notified by the League that it felt the play was a legal hit and no further action would be taken, which prompted one player to voice his concern.
"I have a biased opinion after going through multiple concussions and seeing what the results are," veteran Andy McDonald said. "I'd like to see the League get away from those types of hits. You can still have a physical game, an intense game. Obviously the fans love that, but the players that are making hits, we've got to get away from going in and making contact with the head.
"Could the guy have hit Vladi and not hit his head? Probably … and [it] still [could have been] been an effective hit. It's too dangerous … the health implications on those hits are too severe. It's not worth it. You can still have a physical game without that part of it. It's unfortunate for our team and for Vladi. I'm biased, I've been through it and you hate to see those hits. Every time I see it, it's frustrating."
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