As usual in another city, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out coach Ken Hitchcock was asked to talk about Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko. Hitchcock compared Tarasenko to a rookie he once had in Dallas, Jere Lehtinen. A Finnish native, Lehtinen scored 241 goals and 514 points n 875 NHL games.
“In a similar way, I thought Lehtinen was like (Tarasenko),” Hitchcock said. “He just kind of wowed you with his tenacity on the puck, his ability to make plays in small spaces, Jere was like that. They’re different players, but in some ways they’re similar players because they’re so strong on the puck.
“Vladie is still learning the game, like Jere was. (Lehtinen) came over and they sent him down right away. He wasn’t good enough, in their eyes, to be a regular player and he was going to (go down) and get some games. Then they had a couple of injuries, and he came back and never left the league.
“Vladie has similar traits. He’s a much better checker than people think. He’s a powerful man, at 220 pounds, and he’s got that quick release like Lehtinen had. He makes plays every game.”