Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest
By BEN FREDERICKSON  |  Last updated 9/13/13

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Vladimir Tarasenko, drafted 16th overall by the St. Louis Blues, poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- One worked up an offseason sweat in St. Louis for the first time. The other returned to Russia to train with his dad. Two drastically different approaches that appear to have paid off. "I'm really happy for those guys," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Friday. "We said at the end of the year, we asked people to make some strides here, to do some things extra. We outlined a plan for every guy, what we wanted to see change off the ice and during the summer. So far, so good." Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak and right wing Vladimir Tarasenko shared similar demands. Both had finished seasons that tailed off toward the end. Both were asked by their general manager and coach to come back in better shape for 2013-14. It's early, but it appears both followed through. "I worked hard this summer, working with my father for the whole two months," Tarasenko said Friday. "I tried to be ready for training camp." Tarasenko, 21, who played in 38 games as a rookie, scored eight goals and had 11 assists. Yet after netting two pucks in a loss March 28, he dished just three assists and failed to score in the next 15 games. In late February, he received a concussion during a game in Colorado, an injury that required him to miss 10 games. The concussion, perhaps combined with his lack of conditioning, caused him to fade down the stretch. With a full schedule not shortened by lockout waiting for him this year, he tried to help himself. More telling than Tarasenko's reserved description of his training process are the results team trainer Nelson Ayotte released this week. Tarasenko tied with Ryan Reaves for third in the team's off-ice conditioning program conducted at the start of training camp. Numbers can also show Halak's progress. The Blues starting goalkeeper stayed behind when his teammates left St. Louis, using team facilities to cut 14 pounds of body fat and drop his body fat percentage into the single digits. He feels this new look will help him fend off the groin injuries that twice shelved him last year. "This season is the last season on my contract," he said. "It's a big challenge, to prove it to myself that I can play." Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at frederickson.ben@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker