These comments from St. Louis Blues Ken Hitchcock wouldn't be particularly notable, but after rumors of real problemsbetween star forward Vladimir Tarasenko and the St. Louis Blues organization surfaced this week they stand out.
There's no doubt that the San Jose Sharks have done an extremely effective job of shutting down Tarasenko, and on Wednesday Hitchcock blamed Tarasenko's desrie to do too much for his lack of production in this series.
“What happens with goal-scorers when they get frustrated is they look to hit home runs. We need him just to act like a worker,” said Hitchcock as per NBC Sports.
“What he’s doing is he’s looking to try to catch fast breaks, he’s looking to catch the other team napping. But when you play against guys like [Marc-Edouard Vlasic], you’re not going to catch him napping. He’s just got to feel comfortable playing within the system, playing within the framework.”
Hitchcock appears to believe that youth is playing a factor here, and is hoping that Tarasenko goes back to his fundamentals in this series.
“I think it’s a natural tendency with younger players who have this heightened sense of urgency to do what they do well, which for him is score goals. He’s gotten too far away from the play. He’s got himself too stretched out. We just need him to come back to the puck a little bit more.”
Obviously a coach needs to motivate his players, but if there really are serious issues between Tarasenko and the Blues, one has to wonder if calling him out publicly in this way when the entire team has struggled, not just Tarasenko, could do more harm than good.