It is no coincidence that the Blues are 3-0-0 since David Perron’s return to the ice last Thursday.
Perron, who has been out since November 4 of last season, skated with his team for the first time in just under a year last week. He has been recovering from a horrific concussion after being hit by San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton.
Perron took the ice Thursday in a private skating session before his teammates stepped on the ice in their routine practice time. The Canadian winger made the decision to stay on the ice with his teammates for about 15-20 minutes and skate in a drill with them. He actually scored after line-mate T.J. Oshie shot the puck and generated a rebound right to Perron’s stick.
"I made sure that I was shooting for a rebound, so [Perron] could slam it home," Oshie told Jeremy Rutherford of stltoday. "You could see when he threw it in the net, all the guys were screaming for him. It was pretty good. It's great to see him out there. It's a tough time for the team right now after our trip, but it put a little smile on our face seeing him out there with the boys."
Oshie mentioned the Blues’ road trip, which put the Blues up against the Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. In these four games, the Blues mustered just one victory, tallying 2 points out of a possible 8. They were also out-scored 14-8, including a 5-0 blanking by the Kings.
Coming home never seemed so sweet.The Blues came home on Wednesday and did not practice. Their first time back to the St. Louis Mills IceZone came on Thursday, when they were joined by Perron. This had to be quite the boost to the roster.
Since Perron’s return, the Blues have gone 3-0, out-scoring their opponents 10-4. These were not your bottom-of-the-barrel teams; the Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks have all been victims of the Blues’ streak. Brian Elliott recorded his first shutout as a Blue Wednesday night in Vancouver as well.
So how much does a player returning to the ice effect a team’s play?
Just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins have been without perennial all-star and team captain Sidney Crosby since January 6 of last season. The team rallied around his absence and still made the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The team is still without Crosby to start the season… oh yea, now add second line center and two-time NHL All-Star Game starter Evgeni Malkin onto the injury block. The Russian center has missed six games this season with soreness in his right knee. This team is down and out, right?
Not exactly. Sidney Crosby has been skating with the team all season long. It was not until recently that the Penguins have allowed contact on Crosby in practice. Without him, also many times without Malkin, the Penguins have had their players step up and play some great hockey. The Penguins are currently 7-2-2 and rank first in the entire NHL with 16 points.
Do teams play better when their marquee players return to them in practice? The numbers sure suggest so.
Just think what the Blues can do when Perron returns to the lineup.
Quotes courtesy Jeremy Rutherford of stltoday.com.