David Perron Returns to the Blues | Expectations & Thoughts

By Jeff Quirin
NHL Hot Stove St. Louis Blues Correspondent

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There has been a noticeable presence missing from the St. Louis Blues.

At long last, he has returned.

As teased Sunday per a team press release and made official Monday by General Manger Doug Armstrong at a late morning press conference, David Perron rejoins the only team he’s called home in his NHL career. To begin conditioning his body for a full return. Now some 10 months and 72 missed games after his last appearance the fan favorite known for deft dangles and magician’s hands has a chance to resume his promising career. One put on hold and nearly derailed by a concussion he sustained on November 4th, 2010.

Concussions are not a death sentence, but they are a debilitating condition. One where the duration is difficult to predict.

Perron’s fit the mold.

Days turned in to weeks. Weeks turned in to months. Throughout the remainder of the 2010-11 season Perron would sit. Watching the game ingrained in to his soul from afar. Waiting to feel better. Waiting for the post-concussion syndrome that clouded his head and his future to melt away like early morning fog.

The sun started to rise a little less than a month ago. As reported by St. Louis Post Dispatch beat writer Jeremy Rutherford:

After a recent visit to Boston to visit with Dr. Robert Cantu, who is regarded as one of the nation’s top concussion specialist experts, Perron was given the go-ahead for light exercise. He said he’s been skating for about three weeks.

With a green light to move on Perron has done just that. Enough progress has been made to reach the baseline testing step, mandatory per NHL concussion protocol, but proper expectations should be set. Not only as to when a return to full NHL duty is attainable, but when the needed training to reach game fitness levels can begin.

As Armstrong explains:

“After David’s concussion last season, he’s been working very hard to get back to the starting point, and that’s where we basically are today … the starting point. David is going to be back with us, but I want to stress, he’s back to square one.

“He’ll have to get a baseline test administered sometime this week. When he passes that, he’ll go to the next step with our training staff. Then he’ll progress to training in the room, training in the exercise room, then training on the ice.”

Perron’s health will continue to be handled in the same methodical manner it has been from the outset. His importance to the organization is too great to treat him any other way.

Drafted in 2007 he was one of three first round picks the Blues selected that summer. He was one of the first core rebuilding-block pieces along with TJ Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Erik Johnson. He has developed an abrasive quality on the ice to go along with his lethal offensive talents. His handy work appears on highlight reels from ESPN to Versus to NHL Network. His number 57 jersey sells like cold beer on a hot day at Busch Stadium. He’s great with the fans at events. He is one of the most marketable assets the franchise has.

But there is more to life and hockey than just the business end. Too often the human element is forgotten. Dismissed.

The proliferation of video games and fantasy sports have numbed puckheads in to worrying eating Yahoo IR slots and player rating valuations by EA Sports instead of the man who is just the same as their very own son, husband or friend. The Blues are not about to risk long term health for short term gains. The free agency moves made over the summer are in a direct correlation with the serious injury issues like Perron’s from a season ago to prevent such a scenario.

Give him time. He deserves it.

For the rest of the Blues life marches on. There is another game to be played Tuesday. Jobs to win. Coaches to impress. But they do it knowing one of their own will be back with them as if nothing happened soon enough. Best to bet that puts a charge in their skates.

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Thanks for reading.

As always you’re invited to follow me on Twitter, @JTQ_1, for more discussion on the Blues, Western Conference and the NHL in general.