Those of you hoping to see a big season from winger David Perron may be quite disappointed.
Perron, 23, suffered a season-ending concussion on November 4 when Sharks center Joe Thornton hit him at center ice after exiting the penalty box. Perron missed the final 72 games of the season.
Perron has still not reached full health, as Blues GM Doug Armstrong confirmed on Wednesday that the left-winger would still be sidelined at the start of training camp.
“... We're going to continue down the course we're at right now,” Armstrong said. “But where we're at now, in the summer and with training camp, we've decided to just move forward with the idea that David won't be ready for training camp ... he'll just continue to progress and when he is ready, whatever time he is ready, he'll jump back in and start his training to resume his career. But we're not expecting him at training camp.”
Armstrong added that Perron’s progress “took a big jump a few months ago,” but he still cannot resume normal practice with the rest of his teammates.
The team is hopeful to see Perron at some point this season. But saying when that would happen is like picking a number between 1 and 2,000. It’s just a guess at this point.
Recovery time for concussions is hardly ever determined correctly. A slight blow to the head may take six months to recover from, while a hefty blow may only take two weeks. Brain changes begin to resolve almost immediately, but the full recovery time varies on a case-by-case basis.
Not only will it take Perron awhile to get back into a strong skating routine, but it will take him even longer to return to his dynamic form once he hits the ice.
Of course, that is if he ever does.
NHL players also seem to function on a case-by-case basis when returning from concussions. Certain players can bounce right back and play to their best abilities. Take recently retired Red Wing Kris Draper. After taking a major hit from Colorado’s Claude Lemieux in the 1996 playoffs (a hit that Blues fans just cannot get enough of), Draper suffered a broken nose, broken jaw, broken cheekbone and a concussion. Many thought that Draper would not see the ice for some time. It was quite the contrary; Draper came back the next season and put up about the same numbers that he always had (8-5—13 in 76 games played during the 1996-97 season), but his willingness to muck it out in the corners and ability to knock pucks off opponents’ sticks seemed to only improve. In laymen’s terms, he was an even bigger pest than before. Draper went on to have a very successful career, playing in 13 more seasons after the Lemieux hit until finally retiring just last week.
On the flipside, Marc Savard is still attempting to recover from a hit that occurred in March 2010 that resulted in a major concussion. In one of the most debated hits in recent NHL history, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke hit Savard, knocking him to the ice immediately. Savard returned for the 2010 playoffs, only mustering three points in seven games. He had 33 points in 41 games during the regular season.
Savard suffered yet another concussion last season when Colorado Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick checked him into the boards, ending his season. Savard had just 2 goals and 8 assists in 25 games in 2010-11.
It is clear that some players recover and can still play their game while others fall and never find their way back up. The Blues franchise is collectively hoping that the latter will not be the case for Perron.
Blues training camp will open on September 16 and the regular season begins on October 8 when the Blues host the Nashville Predators.
David Perron is hoping he will be a part of the opening day festivities on the ice.
Quotes are courtesy Lou Korac of the Associated Press. His blog can be seen here.