Sure. there's no NHL season as of right now, and sure, Vladimir Tarasenko is currently hanging out with SKA St. Petersburg. But imagine if you will a land where the lockout didn't exist, and we were looking forward to the Blues beginning their season shortly. A happy, magical place where hockey happened on a professional level in downtown St. Louis, not half a world away.
Pretend that fans and pundits are wondering about line combinations. Oh, wait, Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch actually is? In an interview with Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, he asked where Tarasenko would be placed in the line-up. Tarasenko is a bit of a brusier and space clearer who can benefit from folks who can either get him the puck. He loves to get people out of the way for his team's speedsters. Speedsters who can pass... that sounds like Andy McDonald.
"Our plan was to play one line together all the time and see where it gets and that was (Andy) McDonald, (Alex) Steen and (Vladimir) Tarasenko. That was our plan. The rest we were going to experiment with. We were going to keep twosomes together. We were going to keep (David) Backes and (T.J.) Oshie together, (Patrick) Berglund and (David) Perron together, we knew that worked. But that’s the one line (McDonald, Steen, Tarasenko), we met with all three players and we said this is the line that’s going to stay together from start to finish. It’s going to practice together, it’s going to play together and I don’t see us coming off that.
"I watched those guys. They skated out here as a group and the two or three times they skated together they looked terrific. And both Alex and Andy had really embraced Vladi, and the whole team embraced Vladi, so I think if we started up tomorrow, we wouldn’t change our mind on that at all. We really feel confident that it would be a good combination to start and go with."
In other news, Hitchcock is still looking at defensive pairings with the loss of Carlo Colaiacovo in the off-season. He's hesitant to break up Roman Polak and Kris Russell (who is currently injured), but still doesn't seem too hung up on doing so if he needs to.