Tarasenko says extra time off helped strengthen shoulder: 'Everything is good'
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St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko says the added time off due to the NHL's hiatus has allowed him to strengthen his surgically repaired shoulder.

"I was really close to coming back and playing when the season was delayed so I got some extra time to recover," Tarasenko said Monday, according to NHL.com's Adam Kimelman. "Not even recover, extra time practicing and making it more strong. Everything is good."

Tarasenko played only 10 games this season before undergoing a procedure Oct. 29 to repair a dislocated left shoulder. The Russian winger returned to practice Feb. 8 but was unable to get back into a game before the NHL suspended play March 12.

In detailing his recovery, Tarasenko said he needed to get comfortable skating again before gradually adding more difficult components to his game.

"You start slow, you start with the basics, some exercises where you can ... not learn to skate again, but remember the feeling, and I think it'll be pretty quick (to come back)," he said.

"I skated a few times (during the pause) so it wasn't that hard. It's like the usual start to skating, you work on the basics and you move to harder and harder levels."

Tarasenko, who led the Blues in goals in five straight campaigns entering 2019-20, felt rejuvenated from rejoining his teammates before the stoppage. With training camps set to begin July 10, the 28-year-old is excited to carry that momentum into the summer.

"The closer you get, the more positive emotions you have, the more happy you are for seeing the boys for the first time, skating with them," he said. "I was lucky to go on a couple road trips (before the season pause) and feel that atmosphere. I'm ready to come back and play some hockey."

The Blues, along with the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and Vegas Golden Knights, are slated to compete in a round-robin tournament to establish the top four Western Conference playoff seeds if play returns this summer.

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Tarasenko says extra time off helped strengthen shoulder: 'Everything is good'
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