David Perron to Return
December 3rd vs. Chicago
It’s official. David Perron will make his return to the St. Louis Blues starting lineup tomorrow, December 3rd, against the Chicago Blackhawks. Perron has made significant strides in his recover over the past few weeks, the biggest was when he was finally cleared for contact after not taking a check since November of 2010. Now Perron is ready to return to NHL action and instantly upgrades a St. Louis offense that’s looking for a spark.
Christmas has come early.
David Perron’s return is a joyous one. There was a time where it was questioned whether Perron would ever be the same player he was prior to his concussion in 2010. There were questions as to how his body would respond upon resuming hockey activities and more importantly, how it would respond to an actual check. Tests have been administered and Perron has passed, clearing his return to the lineup on Saturday.
If you haven’t been able to see Perron at practice in recent weeks, you’ll be happy to know that he looked fantastic. Perron was the Perron we know and love. Granted, that doesn’t mean his success in practice will translate to the much faster paced, harder hitting NHL but it does give hope that Perron’s return will breath life into a St. Louis offense that needs numerous players to start contributing. Most recently, Perron looked dynamic in practice, fully capable of breaking down an opponent’s defense and creating chances for himself.
According to Jeremy Rutherford, coach Ken Hitchcock has already stated he intends to use Perron in a top-6 forward role, likely skating with Patrik Berglund. It remains to be seen just how many minutes Perron will be given in his very first game back, however. One can imagine that the organization will ease him and won’t give him a normal amount of minutes immediately.
As a fan, I’ll admit I’m still nervous. Perron has been taking checks in practice but it’s fairly obvious to say a check in practice is different than the one you might take in a game. Each time there’s a collision, I imagine you’ll hear an audible gasp from the crowd at the Scottrade – and rightfully so. Then again, one must also hope that management, which has been cautious in how they’ve handled Perron’s return, wouldn’t put him back out there unless they truly thought he was 100%.
From a broader point of view, Perron’s return instantly makes the Blues a much more threatening team – which is saying a lot given their current run. A healthy, and hopefully not too rusty Perron gives the Blues another talented weapon at their disposal. He can add magic to any line he plays on, and if the above reports are true, could be the man to lift Patrik Berglund out of his early slide.
Welcome back Perron. We’ve all missed you.