Perron, Winchester, Colaiacovo still
nursing injuries; power play must get going
By LOUIE KORAC
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The banged up Blues are looking to get some of those injured bodies back in the lineup. And soon.
But the timeframe for some of those wounded players is still in limbo.
Most notably, forward David Perron, the recipient of a hard Joe Thornton shoulder sustained Nov. 4 against San Jose, did not make the trip to Columbus for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets because he's still suffering concussion-like symptoms.
"Perry's just feeling some of those symptoms," Payne said Tuesday. "We'll wait until that clears and go through the proper procedures accordingly.
"(We're) obviously concerned. We're treating it as (a concussion). With the symptoms that are there, we're going through all the steps and making sure when those symptoms do clear, we'll have to go through the proper procedures in order to get him back and ready. Right now with everything that's going on, we've got to treat it like (it's a concussion)."
Forward Brad Winchester, who suffered a contusion behind his knee also against the Sharks, is listed as day-today and was supposed to accompany the team to Columbus. However, he was doubtful to play tonight.
"He's got a little bit of a contusion in there behind the knee," Payne said of Winchester. "We'll just take it day by day. Hopefully, he can get some recovery and be available to us over the next couple (games)."
There is some good news regarding defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, out since suffering a concussion Oct. 28. Payne said that Colaiacovo is getting better and that the ill-effects of the concussion are becoming clearer.
"We're starting to see some clearing of the concussion symptoms," Payne said. "That engages the next phase of what goes on as far as getting him ready."
* Cole, Nikitin not your every day call-ups -- When the Blues used rookie defensemen Ian Cole and Nikita Nikitin this past weekend for road games at Boston and the New York Rangers, it was not as if the team was just throwing in anyone from AHL Peoria.
Both Cole and Nikitin were fighting for spots on the full-time roster all the way up until the end.
Nikitin broke his right wrist during an exhibition game against Chicago and Cole was one of the last remaining players that was sent down to the Rivermen.
Payne says their solid play over the weekend all stems back to the start of training camp.
"The ability for these guys to do that started with the emphasis that we had in training camp, making sure these guys got extended times with our team, with our structure, through the exhibition season," Payne said. "Obviously, they're quality hockey players too. Being able to step in and contribute is a testament to the organization's depth."
Cole, who caught a flight from Milwaukee to Boston to meet the Blues Friday, said being in limbo is tough but he'll make the most of whatever happens.
"It stinks the fact you have no idea what's going on, but it's awesome the fact that you're doing it up here," Cole said. "You couldn't ask for a better place. The guys are awesome about it.
"I couldn't ask for a better place to do it, to be going hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute. Just trying to stay up here as long as I can."
* Power play futility -- If there has been one sore spot in the Blues' 9-1-2 start, it's been the futile power play.
The Blues are 25th in the league on the power play, connecting on a mere 11.9 percent. But they are in a 3-for-36 funk, including zero for the last 18.
"We know we're in a little bit of a downturn for what we need to see there on the power play," Payne said. "Our guys know that we're going to continue to work on it. We're going to continue to talk about it, we're going to practice it, we're going to continue to look at video and make sure that that phase of our game grows."