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Berglund plays for free

St. Louis’ newest and most anticipated prospect, Vladimir Tarasenko, will be playing overseas during the lockout. After turning down the option to play for St. Louis’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen, he has joined the KHL as he signed with SKA St. Petersburg. By signing with the KHL, Tarasenko is expected to make a professional salary of multi-millions of dollars. His other option, the AHL, would promise a much lower sum, of $65,000.

Tarasenko isn’t the only NHL spotlight to move to Russia, he will join Alexander Ovechkin in the KHL. Although Tarasenko has said that he will return to St. Louis when the lockout ends, that time doesn’t look like it will be soon. In the meantime, he, along with the rest of the NHL players, will have to find another source of ice-time and income. Ovechkin will be receiving $5.7 million for his transition to the KHL, and while that is surprising to some, it comes as a given to many hockey followers.

#21 – Patrik Berglund
(Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

One stunning gesture that also involves the Blues moving players due to the lockout, involves Patrik Berglund.
Berglund will be playing in the Swedish Hockey Allsvenskan league. What’s really surprising about this move, is that Berglund will be playing for free. While owners and NHL reps will be arguing over budgets, forcing players to play overseas to continue to make a living, Berglund decides to continue his hockey career for no pay. Although playing hockey in Sweden is nothing new for Berglund, as he played his youth hockey there, along with three years before signing with the Blues.

Money may be the bottom line, but a transition like this sends a bigger message in the hockey community at all levels. Berglund has decided to go back to his roots and play for an organization that helped give him his start. What every youth player dreams of, Berglund accomplished, and now he’s showing how big his heart is by giving back and being an inspiration for more youth players.
While this serves as a memorable and moving gesture to Swedish players, it should create waves of loyalty in St. Louis. Any player that is willing to honor is roots during a tough time for the entire NHL, is sure to have Blueblood loyalty when the lockout does finally end and Berglund hits the ice for St. Louis.

When Blues fans understand that Berglund has a heart dedicated to his team, they’ll be sure to back him up come game time. Although St. Louis isn’t an Original Six team, joining the league some 50 years after the Originals, the value of tradition and loyalty aren’t lost on Blues fans. It’s also heartwarming for NHL fans in general to see a gesture by a player that shows a true love of the game, rather than a narrow focus on dollar signs.



David Schauer is an award-winning, professional writer who has been involved in organized hockey for over twenty years. He has been published hundreds of times; about the same number of times he has been checked into the boards.

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