David Perron on Covid List, Joins Walker and Walman
The St. Louis Blues have endured wave after wave of untimely injuries this season, almost too many to overcome. They barely squeaked into the playoffs, thanks to inspired play (finally) and the self-implosion of the Arizona Coyotes.
“Perron joins teammates Nathan Walker and Jake Walman on the list,” according to sportsnet.ca. “Walker was added on Friday, while Walman was a late scratch on Monday after testing positive for the virus.”
“Perron has 19 goals and a team-high 58 points during the regular season,” the site sportsnet.ca reported. The Blues will face off against the Avalanche in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Game 1 set for Monday.”
According to the Post-Dispatch story, “Perron was one of the stars of the season for the Blues, becoming the first Blues since 2002-03 to average more than a point a game over the season. He had 19 goals, second on the team to Ryan O’Reilly, and a team-high 39 assists.”
— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) May 16, 2021
“Being on the protocol list does not necessarily mean a player has tested positive,” the Post continued. “Earlier in the season, the Blues had two players, Zach Sanford and Sammy Blais briefly appear on the list because of false-positive tests. They both missed one game and then after having negative tests were cleared to resume play. Players can also appear on the list because of contact tracing.”
The Blues will miss Perron’s offense. He and O’Reilly were the old reliables for the beaten-up Blues this year. Perron and O’Reilly keyed the Blues’ top line and have been the team’s only reliable source of offense in a spotty offensive season.
Perron is also valuable on the forecheck and his speed and puck handling skills often help him create opportunities where there is none. He averages more than 18 minutes of time on the ice per game.
More than his production, Perron is a stand-up guy who is well respected by the veterans and young players alike. He takes time with each young player and is an outspoken critic of damaging locker room gossip. He also inspires his teammates to pick up the pace. Like in the season finale against Minnesota, when the Blues were down 3-0 after the first period.
The old team would have packed it in for the night, but not this late-season new-look Blues squad. They were hungry to turn that game around. And they did, scoring seven unanswered goals on the playoff-bound Wild.
“It was pretty obvious what was going on in the first period,” Perron told KMRS/KKOK.com. “Like (former Blues coach Ken Hitchcock) used to say, ‘We just threw our sticks on the ice and played,’ and so we had talked about it. (Blues coach Craig Berube) brought it up as well.”
Perron scored his first goal of the Minnesota game, tying it at 3-3 with 8:27 to go in the second period. He followed it up with a power-play goal 5:50 into the third period that gave him 19 goals and 58 points in 56 games.
He became the first Blues player to average a point per game in the regular season since Pavol Demitra did it in 2002-03.
“He loves the rink, loves being around the guys,” Berube told KMRS/KKOK. “That emotion and energy he takes on the ice night in and night out really fuels him and drives our team too.”
In late April as St. Louis was fighting for a playoff spot, Perron stood tall in a 4-1 win with three points.
“I really get this feeling that we can play against any team when we do the right things like we did tonight,” Perron told SFgate.com. “I think we’ve still got that quiet confidence that we’ve got to keep pushing forward and things are going to click in the end at the right time.”
In that game, a struggling Brayden Schenn found the net – finally.
Schenn scored his 13th goal of the season when he one-timed a feed from O’Reilly with 6:26 remaining in the period to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead in that 4-1 win over Colorado. Schenn had not scored in his previous 18 games.
“He’s been working hard, doing the right things, being a great leader,” Perron told SFgate.com. “It probably chips away at a guy when you go that long. I was getting close to that too, so I was starting to get that feeling.”
While the Blues road to the Stanley Cup will undoubtedly be filled with potholes and left-turns, they can be assured that Perron – even if he does not play – will be the team’s staunchest supporters.
“Our game is coming together at the right time,” Perron told Ballys Sports Midwest.
Currently, no games have been affected. Fan groups across Facebook were questioning why Monday’s game had not been postponed. A Game between the Blues and Avalanche had been scheduled for April 20th but postponed due to a third Colorado player, Joonas Donskoi, tested positive. He Joined Rookie defenseman Bo Byram and veteran goalie Philipp Grubauer.
That was the second time the Avalanche have had games postponed against the Blues due to players testing positive. In Late January both the Avalanche and Minnesota Wild had games postponed due to a Covid-19. The Blues were then forced to play the Arizona Coyotes for a record seven straight games over two weeks.
The NHL has enacted the COVID-19 protocols in conjunction with the NHLPA and Health officials. If there are more positive tests amoung St. Louis the league will have to take a close look at the series and how it could be played.
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A St. Louis Blues blogger, NHL podcaster, and writer, and contributor for the STL Fan Report.