By Stu Hackel
David Perron has the potential to be exactly what the St. Louis Blues need: an exciting, high-scoring winger who can create and finish scoring plays. He hit the 20-goal mark in his third NHL season at 21 years old, and last season had five goals in his first 10 games as the Blues went 7-1-2.
Perron was concussed in his 10th game on a blindside hit by the Sharks’ Joe Thornton and the Blues were never quite the same again. They missed the playoffs and Perron missed the rest of the season. Now the word out of St. Louis is that he won’t be ready for training camp and that’s just not good news.
Perron’s plight hasn’t gotten the attention some other more well-known concussion victims (like Sidney Crosby and Marc Savard) received, but his injury was no less devastating and it seems to have had a larger impact on his team. It has served as a flashpoint for how the NHL sometimes negatively reacts to change, although this incident certainly played a role in the league recognizing the need to make Rule 48 stronger for next season.
And Perron’s situation also serves as an important reminder of why concussions are so insidious, because every one is different and they sometimes can be very difficult, if not impossible, to immediately detect and diagnose.