ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko skated Thursday with the St. Louis Blues for the first time since having shoulder surgery Oct. 29.
The forward, who was injured on Oct. 24 and has missed 44 games, was a surprise participant in the morning skate before a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. He had been working out off ice for several weeks and skating on his own and with injured teammates prior to Thursday.
"We were all surprised, but talking to (head athletic trainer) Ray Barile yesterday, he said [Tarasenko] can skate," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "It's great to start incorporating him around the guys, with the team. He can do some drills with us and stuff like that and get his timing down, I think it's good."
Tarasenko, who has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games this season, was estimated to miss five months, but general manager Doug Armstrong said Jan. 27 it could be closer to six months, which would either be at the end of the regular season (April 4) or the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The defending Stanley Cup champions are in first place in the Central Division, six points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.
"He's still a while away. But you know what, it's never easy going through what he went through," Blues forward Brayden Schenn said. "Obviously he wants to be out there with his teammates, win hockey games, score goals. I think from a mental side, I'm sure it's nice for him to be out there and buzzing around. He's working hard to get back, and hopefully we'll have him back soon."
Center Ryan O'Reilly said, "Obviously, he's a huge piece of this team. It's been a lot of hockey missed. Just to have him back on the ice with us I think definitely kind of excites us as a group, especially going into these key times of the season and the playoffs. It's nice to see him out there with our group and kind of get that feel back and know that we have this weapon with us."
Berube said he knows he has to take it slow with the 28-year-old, who has 428 points (214 goals, 214 assists) in 507 NHL games with the Blues.
"It's great to have him on the ice for sure," Berube said. "Not only for us, but for him too, to be around the guys, start getting back into that routine for him.
"We'll see how it goes for regular practice. If he can come out and do a lot of the flow stuff, that would be great. The team stuff and things like that we do in practice, he probably is not going to be able to do that stuff, but if he can come on for the first part of it, he should. We'll see how it goes."