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Tarasenko unsure of regular-season return for Blues

'Hopefully … I have a chance to come back,' says forward, out after shoulder surgery

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko said there are no guarantees he will be able to return to the St. Louis Blues during the regular season after dislocating his left shoulder Oct. 24.

"We'll see," Tarasenko said Tuesday, speaking publicly for the first time since the injury. "... We have guys that work with me. My few previous injuries, I was lucky enough to come back earlier, so that means they do [a] really good job. I just trust it [will] work and follow the plan, so hopefully it will heal faster and I have a chance to come back."

Tarasenko had surgery Oct. 29 and the Blues set a five-month timeline for the 27-year-old forward to be re-evaluated. Though Tarasenko came back ahead of schedule following offseason surgery on his left shoulder, which he injured on the final day of the 2017-18 season, he won't be rushed back this time.

"I hope he comes back sooner than that, but that's the most likely timeline for a good, strong re-evaluation," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Monday. "Part of these timelines are to allow him to rehab without the daily questions of, 'How are you feeling today?' We'll have an update. It would be great if he got back earlier, but we wouldn't have put that out there if we thought he was getting back earlier."

Tarasenko, who has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games, was injured when he got tangled up with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Walker with 6:01 remaining in the first period of a 5-2 victory.

"I know something bad happened, but I didn't know until I did some exams," Tarasenko said. "You can understand something not going the right way."

During his rehab, Tarasenko plans to be an assistant coach of sorts for the Blues, helping wherever he can to support the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"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 [support] in the locker room."

But he's happy for the Blues, who are 7-1-0 without him, including a seven-game winning streak they look to extend when they host the Arizona Coyotes at Enterprise Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV).

"I'm pretty excited for the team and the way they are doing," said Tarasenko, who has 428 points (214 goals, 214 assists) in 507 NHL games, all with St. Louis. "Just stay positive, help as much as I can being positive, talking with the guys and just being part of the team."

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