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Tkachu(n)k has Blues guessing

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  • Tkachu(n)k has Blues guessing

    Tkachuk has Blues guessing
    By Jeremy Rutherford

    Where is Walto?

    Blues forward Keith Tkachuk, nicknamed 'Walt' by his teammates, was suspended by the club Sept. 16 after failing his physical. The team has indicated - and sources have confirmed - that Tkachuk failed his physical, in part, for being overweight.

    In the past 11 days, Tkachuk has not commented on the suspension, and Blues officials have said nothing other than he will return to the team when he passes his physical. The NHLPA filed a grievance on Tkachuk's behalf, but the union said Monday that there is nothing further to report on that.

    So where is Tkachuk? He has missed 10 practices and will miss his fourth exhibition game when the Blues host the Dallas Stars at 7 tonight at Savvis Center.

    According to teammates, Tkachuk is working out in St. Louis, attempting to lose the weight - reported to be 25 pounds more than his 2003-04 playing weight of 231 pounds - and pass the physical.

    How much Tkachuk weighs nearly two weeks later is unknown. Tkachuk is not working out with the Blues, under conditions set by the team. He has continued to work with his personal trainer, Nelson Ayotte. Ayotte was hired by the Blues before training camp as their strength and conditioning coordinator, but he continues to work with his client, Tkachuk, on his own time. Reached Monday, Ayotte declined to comment until he received permission from Tkachuk.

    Blues general manager Larry Pleau said that while he has spoken to Tkachuk's agent, Bob Murray, several times during the suspension, he has not talked with Ayotte about Tkachuk.

    "That's Walt's personal trainer," Pleau said. "It has nothing to do with us. We haven't said anything to Nelson ... what he should be doing, not doing."

    Those in the Blues' organization are beginning to worry less about Tkachuk's training, and more about his availability for the regular season. With the season opener at Detroit just nine days away, it would seem that if Tkachuk isn't in camp soon, he'll have no chance of being in uniform against the Red Wings.

    "I think if you don't see him until (Oct.) 4th, he's not going to play the 5th ... but we're hoping that it's (Sept.) 30," Blues center Doug Weight said. "I think if see him somewhere after this weekend, like Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, you're probably not going to see him in the opener."

    Blues coach Mike Kitchen was less definitive about when Tkachuk could be available.

    "We don't know; he hasn't been here since the start of camp, so that's a tough thing," Kitchen said. "We'll have to see when he gets on the ice. He's been skating."

    Blues captain Dallas Drake, a close friend of Tkachuk's said: "He's been skating and riding the bike. The biggest thing is to get him in a game and get his timing down, handling the puck. That will be the biggest thing for him."

    Kitchen, who has not spoken with Tkachuk since the suspension, would like to see him play at least one exhibition game. The Blues travel to Dallas on Wednesday before wrapping up the exhibition schedule Sunday against Chicago at Savvis Center.

    "I think it's really important," Kitchen said. "Timing is such a key issue. Keith didn't play all last year. When you get in the traffic, you're able to make plays, that type of thing, receiving a puck. Those types of things are real key issues. That's why it's important to get into practice, a number of practices before he plays."

    Kitchen added that as far as Tkachuk's return, "It could be maybe later on this week."

    Pleau said a day for a physical has not been scheduled.

    "It's all up to Walt ... that's not up to us," he said. "Walt can come in anytime he wants."

    And when he does, Kitchen hopes the suspension can be forgotten.

    "He made a mistake," Kitchen said. "He's a pro, and he's correcting it. I give him all the support. When he comes here, it's all in the past, and let's forget it. ... Let's just move on.

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    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    He came into camp at 250+?? Gawd.

    Also, Kitchen sounds like he's taking a page out of Big Mac's book with that last line.


    • #3
      i still think its hilarious his coach is Kitchen and his teammate is Weight


      • #4
        QUOTE(MsFunkay @ Sep 27 2005, 01:16 AM) Quoted post
        i still think its hilarious his coach is Kitchen and his teammate is Weight [/b][/quote]

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        • #5
          QUOTE(MsFunkay @ Sep 27 2005, 01:16 AM) Quoted post

          i still think its hilarious his coach is Kitchen and his teammate is Weight

          [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/roll2.gif[/img] [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/roll2.gif[/img] [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/roll2.gif[/img]
          It is not the strongest of the species that survive,
          nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
          -Charles Darwin