Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko hopes to be cleared for training camp

CHICAGO -- With the exception of seeing a couple of concerts and getting some family time, Vladimir Tarasenko had a boring summer.

A surgically repaired left shoulder kept Tarasenko on the shelf and unable to train much, but now the St. Louis Blues winger hopes to be back on the ice for training camp next week. Five months removed from reconstructive shoulder surgery, he thinks he is on the verge of being cleared to play in games.

"I'm pretty close,'' Tarasenko said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday at the NHL's annual preseason player media tour. "It's been pretty hard and boring sometimes, but the guys do a good job who work with me.''

Tarasenko spent much of the offseason rehabbing after surgery on April 11, four days after he separated his shoulder in a collision with Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog in the regular-season finale.

General manager Doug Armstrong expected Tarasenko's recovery to take four to six months, and the 26-year-old Russian is right in the middle of that.

Tarasenko led the Blues with 33 goals and was second on the team with 66 points last season. St. Louis lost Game No. 82 to miss the playoffs by one point and has gotten past the second round of the playoffs just once in Tarasenko's six-year career. In 421 regular-season games, Tarasenko has 178 goals and 172 assists for 350 points.