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Kariya Rarin' To Go Again

Thursday, 10.1.2009 / 2:50 PM CT / 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."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 77 37 36 27 73
A. Steen 74 24 40 8 64
J. Schwartz 75 28 35 13 63
D. Backes 80 26 32 7 58
T. Oshie 72 19 36 17 55
P. Stastny 74 16 30 5 46
A. Pietrangelo 81 7 39 -2 46
J. Lehtera 75 14 30 21 44
K. Shattenkirk 56 8 36 19 44
P. Berglund 77 12 15 -2 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 26 14 3 .917 2.26
J. Allen 22 7 4 .913 2.28

 
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