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Kariya Rarin' To Go Again

Thursday, 10.01.2009 / 3:50 PM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com
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Kariya Rarin\' To Go Again
An injury limited Paul Kariya to just 11 games last season, but after two hip surgeries, he says he's back and better than ever. (Getty Images).
STOCKHOLM -- Blues coach Andy Murray calls veteran forward Paul Kariya "the bionic man" these days, and for good reason.

Kariya had surgeries on both hips last season, limiting him to only 11 games (he had 15 points) before his season was done. After a grueling rehab and a long summer, Kariya is ready for a seamless transition back into the lineup.

"He's better than what we have already seen from Paul and he was over a point a game when he got hurt last year," Murray said Thursday. "He's the bionic man. He's got two new legs and it probably added three years to his career."

Kariya's only setback in camp was a sore groin, but he told NHL.com the doctors had informed him that would happen because the muscles around his hips would "take a little time to get going."

However, entering Friday's season opener against Detroit, Kariya says everything is normal again, which is great news to the Blues, who hope to see some of that same magic Kariya had with Keith Tkachuk and Brad Boyes two seasons ago.

Although the Blues finished 14th in the Western Conference that year, those three played together for most of the season and finished 1-2-3 on the club in scoring. Kariya led the team with 49 assists and tied for the lead with 65 points. Boyes had 65 points thanks to a career-best 43 goals. Tkachuk had 27 goals and 58 points.

"They were our best line two years ago," Murray said. "That's the rationale (for having them back together). I'm not that smart. We're just hoping the past is good enough."

Kariya, though, admits he'll have to adjust to the way the Blues want to play now. While he was sidelined last season, the Blues, who also were missing Erik Johnson, Andy McDonald, T.J. Oshie and Eric Brewer, became a team that was hard to play against.

It's an attitude and style they plan on bringing into the 2009-10 season. Kariya, known more for his skill than his toughness, understands he has to jump on board.

"It's a team game so you have to play how the team is playing," he said. "Right now if you try to play offense only or you don't do the little things like get the puck in and get the puck out you're not going to be in the League. The game is just not played like that at any level. It is more of an adjustment for me to come back and fit into that system."

With Kariya itching to get back at it, he's ready to work within any type of system.

"It was not an easy surgery, and to have it twice," Kariya said. "... But the doctor was great and I got perfect care. My body feels good and I'm ready to go."

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 47 30 15 2 148 108 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 47 20 15 12 129 126 52
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 46 24 23 23 47
A. Steen 44 15 25 8 40
K. Shattenkirk 46 8 31 17 39
J. Schwartz 39 16 21 15 37
D. Backes 45 16 17 5 33
J. Lehtera 45 9 21 16 30
T. Oshie 38 13 15 11 28
A. Pietrangelo 46 4 23 0 27
P. Stastny 38 9 16 5 25
P. Berglund 45 6 9 -1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 13 5 2 .930 1.86
J. Allen 13 5 2 .900 2.65

 
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