St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko suggested he was committed to playing the season with the team after he requested to be traded in the offseason.
Tarasenko met with the media on Thursday, the first day of training camp, and was immediately asked about the issue. He vowed to be focused on the season ahead.
“My mindset is good. Happy to be with the guys. I have a good relationship with the guys. It’s been a weird summer, but it’s going to stay between us — between me and (Blues general manager Doug Armstrong). I’m here to work. As long as I play here, I will work 100%. I’m 100% healthy,” the two-time All-Star said, according to The Athletic.
“It is all behind,” he added. “I don’t see the reason to discuss it now. Camp starts, you know, and I don’t want to be a distraction in the room. Like I said, I’m here to work. I’m healthy and I’m happy to play hockey again.”
Blues coach Crag Berube downplayed the notion that Tarasenko would be a distraction for the team moving forward this season.
“I really don’t believe it’s a distraction at all,” Berube continued, according to TSN. “He’s been here for a while, skating with the guys, being with the guys, hanging out with the guys. I thought he looked excellent out there today. He’s been part this team for a long time. Yeah, things happen in the summertime or things are said. I don’t go into all that, I don’t worry about that. He’s here playing hockey for us, so I coach him. That’s it. It’s not a distraction in my opinion.”
“I don’t believe it’s an issue at all,” he added. “If he wasn’t bought in, I don’t think he’d have been here a month early skating with the guys and working out with the guys and being around. He’s obviously bought in. He’s part of this team. He’s been part of this team his whole career, NHL career. I don’t see a buy-in problem.”
The Russian star has been with the Blues since the team selected him in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He was a key part of the team’s run to the Stanley Cup title in 2019.
Last season, he scored four goals in 24 games after only playing in nine during the 2019-20 season.
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