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Vladimir Tarasenko honored by Missouri

Blues forward wins MAC Sports Personality of the Year Award

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko was named the recipient of the Missouri Athletic Club Sports Personality of the Year Award on Monday.

"Somebody told me a couple days ago, maybe [Sunday], but it's more about the Blues organization and my teammates," Tarasenko said. "Without them, I cannot get this award. Me and my family [are] really proud to be recognized like this. I'm really proud to have this award, but again, it's all about us here and thanks to all the guys that helped me."

Tarasenko, 24, will receive the award at the MAC Jack Buck Sports Awards presented by Maryville University on Monday, Dec. 5. The award, established in 1970, is given annually to honor the top sports figure in St. Louis and is voted on by members of the MAC.

Former Blues forward T.J. Oshie won the award in 2014, but Tarasenko wasn't familiar with the honor prior to the news.

"Not really, but I read a lot of stuff now," Tarasenko said. "It's really good stuff, especially for me as you find out people love you and the city and have this much respect for you. It's making me to keep working even harder to make them excited even more."

Video: STL@VAN: Tarasenko beats Markstrom to open scoring

Tarasenko becomes the seventh Blues player to receive the honor, joining Oshie, Mike Liut (1981), Brett Hull (1990), Curtis Joseph (1993), Brendan Shanahan (1995) and Al MacInnis (1999).

Past winners include Bob Gibson, Joe Torre, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in the MLB; track and field's Jackie Joyner-Kersee; tennis player Jimmy Connors and Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams of the NFL.

Tarasenko had a breakout 2015-16 season with 40 goals, which ranked fourth in the NHL, and helped the Blues reach the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001; he was also named an NHL All-Star for the second straight season.

"It's pretty hard for me to recognize [the award] because I'm from Russia," said Tarasenko, who was named an alternate captain for this season. "I thought they are most from America or Canada. But we're really proud to have this award.

"It's a good start for the [2016-17 season], so hopefully we can go deeper this year and have more success as a team."

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